"Nature instills in everyone a sense of beauty and calmness. It exposes us to things that are alive and growing and promotes curiosity and exploration."
Did you grow up like I did, building forts, climbing trees, and biking everywhere even as darkness fell? If you did, you'll agree with me that all children deserve those experiences.
These days though, life is different. We worry about kids being safe outside without us, and it’s hard to make time when you need to make dinner! So kids spend a lot of their time inside. The average child, given a choice, prefers to stay inside, close to electrical sockets and all the entertainment sources they power.
Kids need fresh air and exercise. We all do.
At Therm, our mission is to encourage kids to love the outdoors, so this lifestyle will continue into adulthood. Here are a few ideas to make changes in your daily life, and benefit your family inside and out!
1: Watch your language
"Yuck." "Ew." "Gross." Adults say those words about nature — in front of kids — probably without even realising it. Instead, teach kids about touching, holding and exploring nature safely.
2: Read and eat outside
Sometimes the easiest way to increase time in nature is to take what you normally do inside and do it outside! Host story time or snack/lunch time on the grass or under a tree.
Spending time outside raises levels of Vitamin D, helping protect children from future bone problems, heart disease, diabetes and other health issues.
3. Turn off the cell phones.
Yes this means yours! The world will be waiting for you when you get back. This is quality time to focus on family. Soon enough, your child will want to be with friends, not with you. Enjoy this time to connect.
4. Try new things, and don’t let the rain stop you!
When it rains, show your kids the joys of puddle jumping, ditch damming, and leaf boating. There’s no such thing as bad weather—just the wrong clothing.
5. Don’t be afraid
Let kids run wild, build forts, and pick flowers. Nature can take it!
Outdoor play increases fitness levels and builds active, healthy bodies, an important strategy in helping children adopt an active lifestyle through to adulthood.
6. Limit electronic devices while commuting
There are so many benefits to looking away from the screen and out the window, even for just a portion of your journey. Try to turn off the devices and instead encourage your children to look out the window. The skies are beautiful with colours and birds, or talk about the different cloud patterns. Even views of nature from the car window are calming and beneficial.
7. Stop thinking about nature time as leisure time
Time in nature is an essential investment in our children’s health and well-being (as well as our own). Time outside should be given priority, not ‘after chores are done’.
Play protects children’s emotional development whereas loss of free time and a hurried lifestyle can contribute to anxiety and depression. Studies show that children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.
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