Green Spaces And Children – The Healthy Connection
Due to changing lifestyles, people are spending more and more time indoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans on average spend 93% of their life indoors! Of this figure, 87% is spent inside buildings and 6% is spent traveling in automobiles.
To put it in perspective, this means an average person spends just half of a day per week outdoors. Kinda shocking, isn’t it?
The impact of this trend on people’s physical and mental health is worrisome. It is particularly disturbing how being constantly indoors can affect children who may have limited choice but to stay indoors – in classrooms or daycare, in apartment buildings, in school buses.
Even their leisure time may be spent indoors playing in arcades or strolling around in malls.
Intuitively, we know that being outside, and seeing plants and greenery is good for us. This is linked to better moods and better outlooks in life. Up until recently though, how much impact spending so much time indoors has on us has not been precisely quantified.
A study conducted by Aarhus University in Denmark, however, showed just how important spending time in greener surroundings is. This is what the study found:
“Children who grow up with greener surroundings have up to 55 percent less risk of developing various mental disorders later in life; this calls for greener and healthier cities for the future”
The study shows the importance of surrounding children with green space from birth to the age of 10, particularly. When children are exposed to plants and greenery during this critical period, the risk of developing mental disorder decreases dramatically.
Other related studies show that green spaces in local areas create social symbiosis and increase people’s physical activity level. In children this is manifested in improved cognitive development.
While there are other factors that may contribute to children’s risk for developing mental health problems as adults including noise, pollution, lower socioeconomic status, the Danish University study proves that time spent surrounded by greenery is as important.
Children Need Green Plants – The Rise of Biophilic Design
Fortunately, the growing awareness of the importance of greener environments has given rise to biophilic design. Architects, interior designers and landscape designers are incorporating natural elements – foliage, grasses, flowering plants and even trees in their designs in an attempt to bring nature indoors.
Forward thinking children’s healthcare facilities for instance are using natural materials and decorating their waiting areas, as well as patient’s rooms, with plants.
On the homefront, young parents are incorporating green elements into their home by putting in indoor plants and gardens – even just on their window sills. And this is really a good thing.
Reasons Why Indoor Plants are Good For the Home and Your Children
Adding plants and greenery to your indoor spaces improve the aesthetics of your home. However, as already proven by various studies, as described above, indoor plants bring so much more value than just being pleasant to look at.
Where children are concerned, incorporating indoor plants in our homes and any environment they are exposed to appears to be a necessity.
If you haven’t already been convinced, here are just a few more benefits of indoor plants:
Plants Purify the Air
It is a common misconception that staying indoors protect you from pollution. On the contrary, indoor air quality may not be as good as you want it to be. In fact, indoor air can be worse than outdoor air, especially in an air conditioned environment where it’s just re-circulated.
Plants, through their natural processes convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. In addition, they have the ability to draw toxic compounds from the air into the soil where they are converted into plant food.
They can neutralize harmful substances such as benzene and formaldehyde from your home’s indoor space.
Plants May Improve Immunity
Children are particularly prone to flu and colds. Adding plants to indoors may help keep those sniffles or scratchy throats away.
How? Plants can improve humidity levels indoors. Through a process called transpiration, plants release up to 99% of their water intake into the air. Studies show that higher humidity levels in the air help in preventing the spread of the flu virus thus reducing the chances of people within developing colds, sore throat or dry coughs.
Plants Increase Performance
In workplaces, plants were found to increase productivity and worker satisfaction. Plants were found to improve emotional states and decrease negative feelings among workers. In addition, they improve concentration and task performance.
It will be safe to assume that in a home setting, plants bring in the same benefits. If you work from home, greener indoor spaces will result in better work output.
Plants around the home, especially where kids spend time to study and do homework may help with concentration and result in less distraction. There is a term used called “directed attention”. This refers to how long an individual remains focused on doing a particular task.
There have been findings that greenery helps improve directed attention capacity. This can result in quality study time which can mean better quality homework and better results during cognitive tests.
Plants May Speed Up The Healing Process
The next time you visit someone sick in the hospital – bring flowers or a small potted plant. Apparently, these do more than bring color to a drab hospital room. Due to the soothing effects of ornamental plants, patients heal faster.
In the home setting, having plants contribute to a soothing and relaxing environment. This results in less stressed and consequently happier occupants.
Plants Improve Relationships and Increases Compassion
There are studies that show the people who spend time around and caring for plants tend to be better at relationships than those who don’t.
People who care for nature are more likely to care for others, as well. They exhibit more compassion towards others leading to better relationships with other people.
You can help develop this empathy in your children by allowing them to help with the care of your indoor plants. Whether it’s just maintaining a few potted herbs on your window sill or having them water the plants in your atrium, having children participate in plant care is also a wonderful way to foster closer family connection.
Studies also show that children who have contact with soil during activities that involve digging and planting exhibit more stable personalities with improved moods and decreased anxiety. Have we convinced you yet that children need green plants?
Indoor plants are beautiful additions to any indoor space. With the many benefits they bring, they are an affordable and relatively low maintenance way of bringing positive energy into your home.
Children Need Green Plants – Call INSIDE PLANTS Today
If you are looking to re-imagine your interior space with beautiful plants, INSIDE PLANTS can help. We are an experienced indoor plant service company and have many residential clients all over Southern California.
We have everything you need to create the indoor green oasis you have always wanted. Tell us what you have in mind. Depending on your specific needs, we’ll design a plant program that’s the perfect fit!
Call us today for a FREE CONSULT at these numbers:
Palm Springs (760)322-9909
Toll-free (800) 376-4637
Tags: Children need green plants, indoor plants and health, inside plants and kids, children and plants
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