Green Spaces Linked to Kids’ Cognitive Development

(Photo: PhilipYb Studio/Shutterstock)
“Children spend a considerable part of their active daily time at schools, and ‘green exercise’ has been related to greater mental health.”

Parents, as a rule, want to give their children every possible academic advantage. While this usually takes the form of tutors or computers, a new study suggests a surprising factor they may want to consider when checking out a new school, home, or neighborhood: Whether it provides adequate access to the natural world.

New research from Spain finds that, among second-, third-, and-fourth graders, quality time spent climbing trees and playing games on grass helps mental abilities blossom.

“Our study showed a beneficial association between exposure to green space and cognitive development among schoolchildren,” writes a research team led by Payam Dadvand of Barcelona’s Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology. This is partly, but not entirely, explained by the fact that kids who get to play in nature are exposed to less air pollution than those who hang out on city streets. Continue reading

Screentime Is Making Kids Moody, Crazy and Lazy, Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D.


Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. in association with Psychology Today

6 Ways electronic screen time makes kids angry, depressed and unmotivated

The child or teen who is “revved up” and prone to rages or—alternatively—who is depressed and apathetic has become disturbingly commonplace.  Chronically irritable children are often in a state of abnormally high arousal, and may seem “wired and tired.”  That is, they’re agitated but exhausted.  Because chronically high arousal levels impact memory and the ability to relate, these kids are also likely to be struggling academically and socially.

At some point a child with these symptoms is likely to be given a mental health diagnosis, such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD, and offered corresponding treatments, including therapy and medication.  But often, particularly in today’s world, these treatments don’t work very well, and the downward spiral continues. What’s happening? Continue reading