In this modern age we seem to be spending less and less time outdoors. Our children are spending way too much time indoors than they used to. It’s been said that this is a big problem and creating issues we’ve never had to face before. Stress is going up by all levels and also in children. This breaks my heart. Children need a moment to run wild and free outside more than just once a week, they should everyday. When my boys spend too much time cooped up indoors I can see them get lazy and cranky. Their little bodies are just full of so much pent up energy at those times. Children have so much curiosity and creativity so by allowing them to go out explore and follow their nose towherever it may lead those innate desires get fulfilled. I believe they need to run, fall and get back up on their own.
This way they can learn to run without falling because they will catch themselves and that is a big and important life skill. I personally think it’s never too early to acquire this skill. Kids are often much more resilient than wethink. Since forever nature has allowed us to grow in this way. I often see kids being overly supervised by their parents and not being allowed to get dirty because they might ruin their clothes. Obviously there should be a balance, but kids need to sit and run their fingers through sand – earth’s different elements, it is a huge part of our learning process. Getting dirty and muddy is a part of the game! Let them wonder, discover and experiment.
In my last post about kangaroo therapy I shared a bit about my first born son’s initial two weeks of life. That experience made me feel so guilty as a mother. Since then I have always felt the need to make it up to him and I became overly protective in his first two years of life. I was sort of a helicopter mother, the type of mother I never thought I’d be. I would often over supervise him when he was running or playing in the park just to make him understand I was their for him. Catching him, protecting him and making sure he was not going to get hurt in any way. Of course this behavior can be easily understood but kids also need to feel a sense of freedom and trust towards themselves. A free space to run and the feeling of being themselves and I think they may stop falling sooner.
My son would cry very easily and give up before trying to climb a small ladder in the playground and I realized he was counting on me a 100%, so I started to change my approach. I would tell him he could do things on his own and slowly I began to see huge progress. Man, was he ever proud of himself! His ego and own sense of security started to grow really fast. I guess I was just trying to make up for the time lost when he was alone in the hospital, but my hovering definitely didn’t do him any favors. Now with my second son I make sure to give him a lot of space. He is fine on his own climbing in the playground or being wild in nature. He falls without crying and is quick to stand back up again. Of course, I am always close by or taking part in the games they play.
Much research has been done on outdoor activity and it’s proven to improve our overall health and sense of well being in many different ways such as :
Strenghtens your eyes and improves vision
Simply makes you feel happier
Improves short term memory
Restores mental energy
Sharper thinking and boosts creativity
Strengthens your immune system
Improves mental health
I can’t think of a better way to spend quality time with my family then to find a lovely spot in wild nature or in a beautiful park. Kick a ball around, play hide and seek, run around, look at our surroundings and just have our imaginations run wild and free. In those moments we invent stories that happen where we are using what we see.
Now I am waiting for spring, since I am a huge fan of picnicking 🙂 Not that I let the cold ever stop me. Being outside in all weather conditions makes us stronger, strengthens our immune system. Once you return home, grab a warm cup of tea for you and the kids (my sons think they are so big and cool when I give them a cup of tea). Just make sure it’s well cooled before you give it to them 🙂