Read our guide on how napping outdoors benefits children.
Our readers already know that at Muddy Puddles, we’re passionate about getting children outdoors because of the huge benefit spending time in nature has on them. We know it helps children develop healthier bodies, better concentration and bigger imaginations just to name a few.
We write a lot about activities you can do with your little ones outside at different times of the year and we’re never short of fun ideas for family outdoor activities. But what about napping time? Smaller children spend a big part of their day sleeping so we were wondering, can sleeping outdoors also benefit little adventurers the same way as climbing trees, walking woodland trails or jumping in muddy puddles? We sure think so!
We’ve stumbled across this fantastic article in The Telegraph that talks about the revival of the very healthy habit of letting children nap outdoors in their prams. They attribute this to the increasing popularity of the Forest Schools in the UK and they advise new moms to feel confident leaving their little ones to sleep outside as long as they have appropriate weather clothing, suitable bedding, a pram, and appropriate supervision.
Dr Rahul Chodhari of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health told the Telegraph:
“This is a very Scandinavian approach where afternoon nap-time in the back garden temperatures could drop below freezing,” he said. “It seems that young children, infants, are not bothered by the temperature and it doesn’t seem to affect their wellbeing at all. “This is a cultural practice in places like Finland since even the 1920s and they have had tremendous a lower infant mortality rate than the UK for many years.
“The health benefits of children just being outdoors and physically active is enormous and there is no evidence that any harm occurs provided babies are well-wrapped and not cold. It’s about having a common-sense approach. Rain and drizzle is more common than in Finland, and urban or rural animals do sneak into people’s gardens.”
Here are our top 5 benefits of outdoor napping for babies and toddlers:
1. Better sleep
The cold air helps babies and toddlers sleep better, deeper and longer. It also helps them fall asleep easier even once they are older.
2. Less illness
Children who sleep outdoors spend less time in dry, recycled air which can allow the flu, virus and common colds to easily spread among the children.
3. Improved learning
Children who sleep better are more rested and they can benefit from improved alertness and better cognitive performance.
4. Calmer babies
By spending more time in nature, looking at the beauty and smelling the fresh air, children who sleep outdoors benefit from nature’s calming effect.
5. Healthy habits
By spending a lot of time outdoors from a young age, children can internalise these habits early on in their lives which can help them become healthier adults.
If you want to give outdoor napping a try this winter or just simply want to spend more time outside with your little one, make sure you dress them warmly. Our toasty jackets and all-in-ones are perfect for babies sleeping in the open air keeping them warm and ready for the chilly weather.