Here are two excellent blogs about Nature. I am a huge fan of Richard Louv‘s Nature mouvement. He is a crusader for healthier children and communities through natural play. His work is a catalyst for me to get outside with my kids. It’s positively affecting my entire family. I’m a believer!
This poster makes me cringe because of all the little boisterous souls I have discouraged over the years. I believe I did so gently and with love but I still sent them the message that they weren’t quite “good enough” when they couldn’t sit still. “When you know better you dobetter.” ― Maya Angelou
I don’t know if you’re like me, but as soon as the holiday rolls around and our routines stop, we usually huddle up at home. We often don’t use the time to get active all together. And then afterward, we all lament the missed opportunity. And this happens year after year. But this holiday, I have a plan.
Click below for an excellent blog post about toys that give the gift of physical activity.
Parents are always asking themselves, each other and experts what they can do to help their young children be happy and healthy. The current research on the brain is helping me navigate my own parenting journey. The best books I’ve read lately are Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Baby. They’re easy to read and give very clear information about how to work smarter not harder as a parent.
“The human brain appears to have been designed to solve problems related to surviving in an unstable, outdoor environment and to do so in near constant motion.” Dr. John Medina
Dr. Medina explains that optimal learning occurs when three things are happening: We are outdoors. We are moving. We are experiencing new things which are important to us. How does that help parents? Well, these three things stick out for me.
The human brain was designed to survive first. Any “extra” learning only happens if the child feels totally safe and cared for. So before we try to “teach” our children, we need to attend to their survival needs. This can be a need for food, sleep or emotional connection to other important humans. That emotional connection to others is often called attachment. Attachment is a complex idea yet very empowering for parents. Dr. Gordon Neufeld‘s book, Hold on to your Kids, is a place to start if you are interested in learning about attachment.
Dr. John Ratey recommends we think of exercise as medicine: one part Ritalin and one part Prozac. And it’s FREE. It primes the brain for learning and keeps us all young.
3. Time in Nature
We know we should reduce screen time but what do we replace it with? Nature. If you want to raise healthy, active, calmer children, get them outside. Many pediatricians warn us that this generation of children will be the first to die at an earlier age than their parents. Inactivity is the key factor in this health decline. Playing outside means being active, which in the modern world, equals improved health.
Colin and his Take Me Outside crew have designed t-shirts which inspire me. I’ve ordered one for me and my kids. Reconnecting our children with nature is not the educational system’s responsibility but we can all play a part.
It’s colder here than in many parts of the country but I’m scheduling an extra hour of forest time tomorrow. Hope to see you there! Take the TMO challenge!
More and more is being said for the healing effects of exercise and outdoor play. It’s a simple message. Get active and get outside. Why not do both this Friday as part of Nature Play Day. Click on the icon for more information.
If you, want to get the full benefits of nature but are having a hard time prioritizing it in the chaos of daily life, try setting a measurable goal. Dr. Suzuki challenges us to participate in the 30 X 30 challenge. Get outside for 30 minutes every day for 30 days. That sounds manageable to me. Click on the photo for a link to the Suzuki Foundation website.