Nature deficit disorder is a term coined by author Richard Louv to describe the phenomenon of children spending less time in nature and the resulting negative impacts on their health and well-being. The term does not refer to a formal medical diagnosis, but rather a growing concern among health professionals and educators about the impact of decreased exposure to nature on children’s physical and mental health.  

Studies indicate that only 19% of children aged 5-11 years met the national physical activity guidelines of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. Additionally, children aged 5-17 years spend an average of 2.6 hours per day on screens, such as TV, computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Several factors contribute to the development of nature deficit disorder in children, including increased urbanisation, a shift towards sedentary activities such as screen time, and changes in parental attitudes and practices around outdoor play.

In this podcast episode, I will go over:

  • How nature deficit disorder is leading to more mood, sleep, and behavioural challenges in our kids;
  • The positive effects of nature on children’s mood and emotional well-being including improved cognitive functioning, reduced symptoms of ADHD and reduced stress levels (to name a few);
  • The benefits that time in nature has on our neurotransmitters or brain chemicals;
  • I discuss the research surrounding the positive impact spending time outdoors has on the symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder);
  • How outdoor play benefits sensory integration including exposure to sensory stimuli, physical movement, the calming effect of nature, and multisensory play;
  • Plus, the ways we can encourage our kids to get outside, and I share some tips on how to get them outdoors.