So this is my first of many blogs about the importance of immersing children in nature as part of their daily routine. I’m sure it has not gone unnoticed by many of us parents and teachers that there is an incredible increase in sensory issues, neurological disorders, attention issues, and behavioral problems in schools and at home. The articles are plentiful and being circulated daily about how much of this has to do with the restrictions and limitations we put on children’s exploration and creativity.
Our world is definitely more dangerous today and we certainly can’t let our kids ride their bike for hours in the neighborhood without supervision, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the opportunities to still get dirty, play with sticks, climb trees and roll down hills. Many of those things, though they make a mess for us as parents, actually help wire a child’s brain with the appropriate sensory input. When children don’t get the spinning, rolling, digging, swinging, lifting and other outdoor activities, they begin to have attention issues, sensory issues and behavioral problems.
We were meant to explore and move. Academics and structured play have replaced free play and curiosity. I know the pressures on parents today. We have to work long hours and that means putting our kids in school for more hours than we would prefer. But, there’s a way to make sure they get that time while balancing the demand you have in your life. One of the big things you can do is to make sure they get plenty of outdoor time in the afternoons and evenings after school and on the weekends. You can also look for nature programs or schools that have more than 30 minutes of outdoor recess time. It’s incredible to me that lowering the amount recess time is a growing trend.
But we can compensate for this lack of play with simple things. On rainy days let your kids wear rain boots so they can splash in the puddles (the mess and laundry are worth it). Or when they see a big tree and instantly run over to climb it, let them (as in life in general, just be there to catch them if they fall). The jumping and splashing and climbing are all stimuli that are so incredibly important for their joints and muscles. As a parent of four children all with sensory processing disorder, anxiety and other conditions, I have learned the only way to help them truly develop and grow is to let them play, explore and develop at their own pace. Let them follow their own body’s natural movements and curiosity.
Wanna know more? Come along with us. We post a lot of good articles that are science-backed and medically-supported and we share and talk about this on of our social media channels and on our website - www.rootsnstems.com.