Archive for kids and nature

Nature Deficit Disorder: Why Spending More Time Outside Is Good for Your Children’s Health

You might think of camping as just a fun family activity, but it’s far more than that. Camping provides a reason for your kids to break away from technology and spend quality time outdoors, which is extremely beneficial to a child both physically and mentally, according to the nature deficit disorder (NDD) theory.

Nature deficit disorder was coined by author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. It describes the ill effects that can occur in those who spend little time with nature—especially children, who are still in crucial developmental stages.

In his book, Louv argues that kids have become so consumed by technology that many of them have never developed a connection with the natural world. This isn’t surprising considering the multitude of screens children are exposed to from birth. Even toddlers use smartphones, computers, televisions, tablets, e-readers, and more.

Nature deficit disorder is a serious issue and can result in symptoms such as attention problems (e.g., ADD), anxiety, depression, and obesity. The good news is the solution to these symptoms is right in your backyard! Make outdoor activities a priority with your children and look for opportunities for the whole family to spend more time with nature. A little dose of fresh air now could be the best medicine.

Kids and Nature … What a Beautiful Thing

I was reading through my emails this morning and found my C&NN newsletter. Opening it up, I read two beautiful pieces that I want to share with you.

Tierra y libertad

The first is written by a young man after camping with his family for the first time: TIERRA Y LIBERTAD: A Camping Trip Illustrates Nature’s Place in Family and Heritage.

Peace in nature

And the second, which I actually read first, was written by a young girl contemplating a beehive: PEACE IN NATURE: Aylee Tudek, 16, Shares Her Sense of Wonder.

Both are beautiful and so well-written. I could not say it better. Thanks, Juan and Aylee.

Family Leisure Time: Creating Happy Kids

by Analisa Macias (daughter of Richard and Eleanore Snogren)

As parents, we have goals and expectations of ourselves and our children. But what, really, are we expecting our children to gain from all of our parenting? What do we really want for our kids? What do they need to launch them into a successful and happy adulthood?

We want our kids to be good, smart, respectful, and happy. We want them to make us proud and to feel good about themselves. But in reality, these terms are elusive and subjective. How do you teach someone to be happy? Or good? Often teaching “respect” ends up instead teaching fear and intimidation. Smart is relative and unique to each individual.

Good and happy comes from within, it is implicit in our beings—not a personality trait. Respect for others is treating someone well and as an equal and can only come from a strong sense of self-respect. So as I ponder how to help my children develop a happy, good, smart, and respectful inner self, I often go to fearlessness.

More than anything, I want to help my kids be fearless. I don’t mean literally to feel no fear, but rather to feel unafraid of failure enough to try whatever they feel inclined to try. To give things a shot, to take initiative, to not be afraid of judgment or rejection, and to not fear not being good at something. We learn by being and by doing. And if my kids are not afraid to be and not afraid to do, then they will grow up pretty fulfilled. This will translate into a happy and respectful human being.