It’s the time of the year , when it’s getting more and more difficult to go outside and explore nature with our children . Gone is the sunshine and for those who live in the U.K- it certainly means more and more rain. Sometimes, it can be really hard to get that motivation and push to explore the great outdoors when it’s gloomy and rainy outside.
Below you will find some tips and advice on how to change your mindset and be able to go outdoors more often , no matter what the weather. I have also taken inspiration from one fantastic book written by Swedish mother of 2 Linda Mcgurk ” There’s no such thing as bad weather”.
- “There is no such thing as bad weather , only bad clothes “- I think , we have all heard of this famous saying , which actually comes from the Scandinavian countries. One thing to remember is that a comfortable child can play outside for hours, so make sure you invest in high quality waterproof clothing, that lasts. I can definitely testify to this and with 5 children, all of them have had “hand me downs ” from my older kids- this is how durable they have been.
- Fresh air is good for you– it sounds so simple right, but easily forgotten too. As Jean Rousseu says “ Fresh air affects children’s constitutions , particularly in early years. It enters every pore of a soft and tender skin, it has a powerful effect on their young bodies. Its effects can never be destroyed. “ Spending more time outdoors can reduce the risk for vitamin D deficiency, obesity and depression. This applies, of course not just for our children, but for us, adults too.
- Unstructured outdoor play has everything children need for healthy, physical, social and cognitive development in the early years. Older children need time to play too ! In one of my favourite books ” Balanced and Barefoot: How unstructured outdoor play makes for strong , confident and capable children”, Angela Hanscom writes ” When their senses are engaged, they are strengthening their sensory skills. And strong sensory integration results in a higher incidence of learning .”
- A little dirt won’t hurt – try to embrace the weather for what it is, and let your child run wild and get dirty while playing outdoors. I have to admit, some of the best nature experiences that my children have definitely been the ones that happened during rain and not sunshine lol. Just don’t ask me to show you the state of my car. One thing is for sure, our modern indoor lifestyle has made children too too clean and I do believe that it has triggered an epidemic of immunological disorders.
- Freedom with responsibility– children need risky play to learn how to assess risk and prepare for adulthood. As Leonare Skenazy reminds us poignantly ” You don’t remember the times your dad held your handle bars. You remember the day he let go “. There are plenty of studies done on risky play and one of its biggest advocate is Peter Gray, who says that not only risky play is beneficial to children’s health and development, but depriving them of it can cause harm. According to him , risky play is nature’s way for children to teach themselves emotional resilience and learn how to manage and overcome their fears.
- Unplug to connect– One thing is for sure, the internet has changed the way we live. There is really no magic number of hours of screen time per day that works for everybody, so make sure you the ideal level for your family. At the end of the day, if you find that electronic gadgets are stealing too much time from outdoor activities and active play with other children, then it is probably time to cut it back
- We are one with nature – Children and nature make a really good fit. By immersing our children in the natural world early. we are ultimately increasing the chances of them wanting to take care of it later in life. As Richard Louve says -” Nobody wants to be in the last generation that remebers when it was considered normal and expected for children to go outside and play. Nobody.
“There is no such thing as bad weather” By Linda McGurk can be bought from Amazon-https://amzn.to/2VI9jrN. Please note that this blog post contains affiliated links.