10 ways to boost the benefits of sunlight for kids

Light from devices can be harmful to children—but natural light can offset that. Here’s how busy parents can prioritize their children’s exposure to sunlight.

Wednesdays were getting tough for Zenovia Stephens’ family. Her five-year-old son was coming home from school cranky, not wanting to play with his little brother and struggling with the transition. So she ditched her car and began walking him home from school, leaving lots of time for play as they made their way back.

He was happier by the time they made it home, and the more afternoons they spent this way, the better adjusted he became. It turns out that Stephens, founder of Black Kids Adventures, landed on a remedy that not only worked for her family but is also backed by science: that maximizing daytime sunlight is critical for kids’ health.

Most parents are aware of the behavioral benefits of getting kids outside, from easier bedtimes to fewer sibling squabbles. But research shows that the actual sunlight children are exposed to also has major biological impacts on a child’s mood, sleep, and physical health. Even better: Sunlight can offset the negative impacts of artificial blue light from all those devices your kids are probably using.

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