Prince William says the way Swedish people parent “has huge benefits for a child’s mental health.”
If February in Scandinavia doesn’t scare you into hunkering down inside, then you can handle just about anything—and that’s one lesson Prince William seems to be taking from his state visit up north.
“The Swedish love the outdoors,” Prince William said during a dinner reception in Sweden, Express reports. “The way you embrace your climate and environment and are committed to ensuring future generations can do the same; the fact that you do so when it is so cold is really inspiring.”
After witnessing that all-seasons love for nature first-hand, Prince William vowed to apply it to the way he parents Prince George, Princess Charlotte and their sibling on the way.
“One lesson that we will take home with us is that children are actively encouraged to spend time outdoors, whatever the weather,” Prince William said. “This is obviously very good for their physical health but, as we learnt this morning at the remarkable Karolinska Institute, it has huge benefits for a child’s mental health as well.”
It’s true that a little cold doesn’t stop children in Scandinavia from getting outside. As Swedish-born author Linda Åkeson MGurk recalls of her childhood:
“At preschool, we played for hours outside every day, rain or shine, and at elementary school, indoor recess was only allowed if there was a realistic chance of death by lightning. We knew that whining about it was pointless. We were expected to dress for the weather and endure the elements. And as we headed toward the small woods that bordered our school yard we quickly forgot about the inclement weather as sticks turned into horses, trees became castles, and we immersed ourselves in pretend play.”
In contrast, a recent report from the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics found British children only spend an average of 16 minutes outside each day.
Prince William’s proclamation could go a long way to reversing that trend—and, in turn, improving the health of children: Multiple studies have linked time outside with lower rates of ADHD, depression and anxiety among kids.
So, what’s stopping many of us? Right now, probably those frigid temperatures Prince William mentioned. But, here’s the good news: There is rarely such a thing as it being too cold outside, just being too underdressed.
So invest in some good coats, mittens and hats—and go remember how much fun can still be had outside during winter months. ⛄️