Just an extra 10 minutes outside in nature could help reduce temper tantrums in young children, a study suggests.
Children who were more connected to nature during the first coronavirus lockdown have been found to have better behaviour and general wellbeing.
Green space is believed to help protect young children against the mental health effects of missing out on school, normal daily routines and friendships.
Just an extra 10 minutes outside in nature could help reduce temper tantrums in young children, a study suggests (stock image)
Temper tantrums usually start at around 18 months and are very common in toddlers. Hitting and biting are common, too.
One reason for this is toddlers want to express themselves, but find it difficult. They feel frustrated, and the frustration comes out as a tantrum.
Once a child can talk more, they're less likely to have tantrums. By the age of 4, tantrums are far less common.
These ideas may help you cope with tantrums when they happen.
Researchers recruited 376 families with children aged three to seven, asking them if the youngsters' connection with nature had increased, decreased or stayed the same between April and July last year.
Parents were also asked about their children's general behaviour, including aggression, hyperactivity and 'acting out' with things like temper tantrums.
The results show children who were more interested in nature had a significantly lower level of behavioural problems than those whose connection with gardens, parks and similar green spaces decreased.
They also had a lower level of emotional problems.
Samantha Friedman, who led the study from the University of Cambridge, said: 'We know that access to and engagement with nature is associated with wide-ranging benefits in children and adults, including lowering levels of anxiety and depression, and reducing stress.
'Connecting with nature may have helped buffer some UK children against the effects of the lockdown.'
She added: 'Our study revealed the wide range of ways that parents can help children get more connected to nature.
'This might be a bit daunting to some, but it doesn't have to be camping in the woods and foraging for food - it really can be as simple as going for a walk near your house or sitting outside for ten minutes a day.'
The study, published in the journal People and Nature, looked at children aged three to seven because they were likely to experience a lot of disruption due to the pandemic, and also have less understanding of what was happening.
Researchers asked parents if their child's connection to nature had changed, which some interpreted as them