Over the last few years, we have all been forced to stay home more often. While restrictions are being lifted and some normalcy seems to be returning, we have all learned the importance of our homes. Home should be a place where children and families feel safe and at peace. Plants are one way to help improve not only the atmosphere in your home, but the mental and physical health of your family!
“Science proves interacting with plants, both indoors and outdoors, is beneficial to physical and mental health. Anyone of any age and skill level can enjoy the benefits of gardening and surrounding him- or herself with nature.” (hside.org)
There are many physical benefits of working with plants and gardening. These include, boosting air quality, promoting exercise, encouraging healthy eating, and decreasing the risk of illness.
Boosts Air Quality: Plants can help keep the air in your home clean. Science shows that indoor air quality is typically more polluted than outdoor air, but indoor plants can help reduce over 300 of the toxins that pollute your indoor air.
Promotes Exercise: Working with plants will get children and families up and moving! Children will be digging, moving soil, and carrying watering cans, all of which is exercise. This will also help parents get those few extra minutes of exercise a day and will encourage you to spend time together, as a family.
Encourages Healthy Eating: Most Americans do not get the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diets. Growing your own fruits and veggies can help with this because homegrown food tastes better. If you don’t have an outdoor space, you can still grow these things inside! Children can easily grow delicious cherry tomatoes, zucchini, radishes, and flavorful herbs — just to name a few. A child will likely feel excited to eat what they grew.
Decreases your risk of illness: We already mentioned plants can keep your indoor air clean. They can help reduce dust AND increase humidity in your home, both of which can help reduce scratchy or irritated throats.
Not only are there physical benefits to plants, but it can be good for your family’s mental health as well. Mental health benefits include, improving mood, relieving stress and anxiety, prolonging attention span, and even boosting self-esteem.
Improves mood: Plants make people feel happier and more optimistic and flowers evoke positive emotions. Flowers can even improve memory in elderly patients. Gardening reminds us of our connection to nature, which can increase happy feelings and reminds us to look forward to the future, which alleviates symptoms of depression.
Relieves stress and anxiety: Looking at plants is peaceful. It encourages people to live in the present moment and engage their senses. Gardening is also known to reduce cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone.
Prolongs attention span: In a study that examines the impact of green settings on children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), researchers found activities carried out in green settings significantly reduce symptoms of ADHD. All children can benefit from spending time in nature.
Boosts self-esteem: If nothing else, gardening requires children (and adults) to take a break from social media and technology, both of which are known to lower children’s self-esteem. As children learn to care for and nurture their plants, they get the opportunity to watch transformation happen. The lesson of care and nurturing can translate into all aspects of life.
The physical and mental health benefits of plants are clear. They can also provide a sense of comfort and beauty when in the home or yard. Children should enjoy spending time at home with family, and this is just another way to help that happen!
*We recommend consulting with your veterinarian before bringing plants into the home if you have any pets*
As always, if you have additional questions, please call our 24/7 Parenting HelpLine at 1-800-243-7337.
Psychological Benefits of Plants & Horticulture Therapy (hside.org)