At the end of their two-day visit to Stockholm on Wednesday, Prince William revealed that he and Catherine hope to encourage their own kids to get outside more, as outdoor play benefits both physical and mental health.
"The Swedish love of the outdoors — 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," he said.
"One lesson that we will take home with us is that children are actively encouraged to spend time outdoors, whatever the weather," he continued. "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."
Research has shown that being outdoors can have a positive impact on mental health. Not only can it lift your mood, but a 2015 study showed that "just having a 50 minute walk in nature, when compared to a walk in the city, helped decrease anxiety and negative feelings," Stephanie A. Sarkis, Ph.D., noted in Psychology Today.
The duke and duchess have always made children's mental health their priority, which is why it's not surprising that they would take this information to heart — especially when it comes to their family.
In the past, the royal couple has led by example by making outdoor physical activity part of their kids' daily lives. In 2016, the duke and duchess took their then-two-year-old son George and then-10-month-old daughter Charlotte on a ski trip in the French Alps.
Additionally, People magazine previously reported that the royal couple enrolled George at Thomas's Battersea School in London likely because of its emphasis on physical education, which makes up 20 per cent of the curriculum.
Considering Catherine has always been an athlete — she plays a variety of sports from tennis to field hockey — as well as William's love of sports, it makes sense that they would make physical activity a priority for their kids.
However, the prince previously revealed that George doesn't like "getting physical" in sports, which means the duke and duchess may have a challenging time convincing him to participate.
At a Kensington Palace reception last year, Casey Stoney, of England's women's soccer team, the Lionesses, recalled, "[William] said at the moment he's trying to teach George that football is actually a contact sport. But George doesn't really like it when he's palming him off and getting physical."
She then added, "[William] said he's really encouraging his kids to get involved with sport."
Regardless, George and Charlotte might be more convinced to get involved in outdoor play once their newest sibling arrives in April. After all, sports are always more fun with more teammates!
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