How Exposure To 'Blue Spaces' Can Improve Your Child's Mental Health For A Lifetime

You know that feeling you get when stepping out of the car at the beach, or when taking a walk by a lake? If you feel your body relax just upon seeing a large body of water and find inexplicable peace of mind by lying by the ocean or touching a river, you are far from alone. As it turns out, there is a scientific explanation for this. "Blue spaces," which are places in close proximity to a body of water, especially the sea, have been proven to have a positive effect on the wellbeing of humans (via The Guardian). 

Several markers of both physical and mental health improve when people spend time in blue spaces; it can impact everything from healthier Vitamin D levels to more positive social relations. In fact, a 2013 study found that people who live in coastal and marine environments were considerably happier overall than anyone else. Respondents to that survey consistently showed that those who lived by or spent a great deal of time by the ocean scored six points higher on the happiness scale than people who were consistently in an urban environment. 

How blue spaces can help you raise healthy, happy kids

Spending time in blue spaces isn't only good for the physical and mental wellbeing of adults; it can provide major benefits to the growing minds and bodies of children as well (via Healthline). 

While regular exposure to blue spaces in childhood can help support physical and mental health of children, it might actually do more than that by providing lifelong benefits into adulthood. "We found a positive direct link between childhood contact with blue spaces and reported adult well-being," Valeria Vitale, PhD candidate at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, told Healthline.

"Our study showed that positive blue space experiences in the formative years of childhood may trigger enduring motivations to engage with natural spaces across the lifespan, facilitating more frequent nature visits in adulthood." 

In other words, not only does spending time near water help your children at the time of those visits, it can also cause them to ensure they continue to get their healthy doses of blue spaces throughout their lives, increasing their chances of better wellbeing for a lifetime.