SCIENCE WANTS YOU TO STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES THE BENEFITS OF SPENDING TIME OUTSIDE
In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author,
and broadcaster Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk- reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments. Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self-esteem. Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet Earth”
are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists. These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.
EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: KAYLA MEET THE NEWEST MOM IN OUR OFFICE!
After months of maternity leave, our orthodontic assistant Kayla has returned to the office! We’re thrilled to have her back and just wish she could bring her adorable baby girl, Finley, in with her!
That’s how I met Dr. Marshall before he opened Marshall Orthodontics! They asked if I was willing to learn about the orthodontic field, I said yes, and I fell in love with it.” Today, Kayla’s work involves helping our patients with their braces by making adjustments and swapping out parts. The process has hooked her on orthodontics for good. “I love that I can work independently and that each appointment is different, even if I’m still going through the same process of taking wires off and putting new colors on. I also like that I can see my patients often, usually once a month rather than once or twice a year, to get familiar with them and their teeth and see how they change,” she says. When she isn’t working, Kayla spends all of her time with Finley, Luke, and their Australian shepherd, Bailey. Next time you come by our office for an adjustment, don’t forget to ask Kayla to see a photo of little Finley — she’s sure to have cute ones to share!
“I don’t like leaving her,” Kayla admits. “She’s attached to me for sure!”
Finley is Kayla’s first baby, and so far, she and her husband, Luke, have been thoroughly enjoying new parenthood. It has been a great adventure for them, despite the sleepless nights since she was born on Oct. 18. As much as Kayla loves staying home and snuggling with Finley, though, she says she was still happy to come back to work. She has worked side-by-side with Dr. Marshall since he first opened Marshall Orthodontics, and actually even before that. “In the beginning, I didn’t really have an interest in orthodontics. I never had braces or even knew what an orthodontist really did,” Kayla remembers. “But when I got my first dental assistant job, it was in a space split half and half with an orthodontics office.
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