After reading this inspiring post, I decided to invite Joanna to share her parenting wisdom with us. Please join me in welcoming her to the Corner.
How Nature Becomes Your Co-Parent In Raising Healthy Children
In times like this, our children have a lot of stuff that captures their attention—TV, Smartphones, internet, and video games. Because of this, children don’t necessarily go out too much these days, making them less active and more susceptible to lifestyle diseases like obesity.
This phenomenon has caught the eye of Richard Louv, a journalist who wrote Last Child in the Woods - Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder about the decreased exposure of children to nature in American society and how this "nature-deficit disorder" harms children and society.
What is Nature Deficit Disorder?
Nature deficit disorder refers to the phrase coined by Louv in his 2005 book. He indicated that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. According to Louv, however, this was never meant to be a diagnosis, but a description of the human costs of alienation from the natural world.
Louv claims that causes for the phenomenon include parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the lure of the screen. Recent research has drawn a further contrast between the declining number of National Park visits in the United States and increasing consumption of electronic media by children.
What can we do about this?
In this modern world, it’s becoming increasingly hard to keep in touch with nature, with our roots. Nevertheless, there are still many ways to do this. The first activity that may come up is camping. Begin with planning a camping trip together with your children. Let everyone pitch in an idea or two on deciding where to go, what to do, and what to bring. They can be the photographers, navigators, food preparers, bonfire stokers. Just make sure they’re properly instructed and, of course, supervised.
After this, you can plan a hike on the next trip, and maybe have a picnic at the stops along the way. Do fun outdoor activities like scavenger hunts. And when the night settles in, tell stories with the family while cuddling up on the bonfire you made.
Another nature-inspired activity you can do with the family is fishing. Your children will surely love this. Take them to an angler’s workshop and guide them in choosing their own fishing rod and lures. If your children are older, try to consider kayaking.
Like kayaking, there are other water sports that will up the ante of coolness. Try windsurfing, tubing, water skiing, scuba diving, surfing, and paddle boarding. Or you can just tow them on a boat and lug around the lagoon for some rest and relaxation. Do these, and they’ll look forward to every outdoor adventure to come.
On the safer and more domestic side, planting in your garden is also a simple outdoor activity that’ll teach your children about the beauty of nature and why everyone must protect it. If you and your children are not too squeamish, you can go bug hunting.
Lastly, air up those tires and enjoy a family bike ride. Take your wheels to the nearest park and kick it!
Outdoor activities shouldn’t be a tough sell to the children because the world is filled so many amazing things. You just have to go out and start looking for them. It’s a win-win situation for your family. You get to bond, enjoy, and be active with your children. These are lessons that they’ll bring with them as they grow up.
Blessed with 3 lovely children, Joanna’s love for her children gives her inspiration in sharing her parenting experiences with Afterschool.ae - the leading after school children activities planning platform for parents in UAE.