The Great Outdoors
There’s something exceptionally therapeutic about nature – watching insects fly, witnessing flowers bloom, listening to the birds tweet. It’s a peaceful world and we have so much to learn.
The importance of the great outdoors is second to none. A space where I’ve never felt contained, there’s always a way out, no boundaries, and forever giving a sense of freedom.
As kids, we grew up with a park virtually on our doorstep and most weekends were spent exploring come rain or shine. From feeding the ducks, to cycling, roller skating, picking up conkers, daisies, counting squirrels, heading to the playground and seeing who could run down the path the fastest, my parents always made sure we always got a healthy dose of fresh air.
Holiday time would revolve around trips to Rutland Water Nature Reserve, visiting National Trust places and sometimes heading down south to the beach. My parents were never weather dependent – if we were wrapped up warm and had waterproofs, we were good to go. As a result, the importance of spending time outdoors was ingrained in me from such a young age, that it’s something I’ve wanted to instill in my own kids too.
There’s a lot more distraction now. Thanks technology! Bringing up children at a time where the world revolves so heavily around social media can be detrimental, and not just to the youth. We are all so guilty of getting wrapped up in the pixels than in what really matters – trying to be a “picture perfect” society. I wish I had the answers on how I’ll parent H around it in the future, but I don’t.
Right now, my theory is that the more time she spends in the outdoors over screen time, the less likely she will become so reliant on it (we hope). From when H was practically brand new, we would go for daily walks – initially in her pram. I always had her positioned to face forward and would talk to her non-stop – pointing at things in the distance and telling her what they were. Most of the time she’d let out a smile or a grumble before dozing off. My walk would continue for a couple of hours and being a sucker for routine, I’d never go off-piste.
As H grew older we’d stop at the playground pushing boundaries through things she was once anxious about (she used to be petrified of going down a slide). We’d lie on the grass, read books, graze and stroke dogs that came up to us. She’d learn new words and squeal with excitement, pointing enthusiastically at objects around her whilst shouting “this!”
I blinked. Before I knew it, H was walking and talking. Her creativity came out in full force and we’d make up stories (of course she was always the princess!). Her beautiful imagination inspired me, as we’d hide behind tree trunks from dragons which soon became our friends.
Whilst our trips to the great outdoors are not as lengthy anymore due to nursery and work commitments – I still make sure we have that time together. We talk, connect, tend to pick things up to bring home, whether it be pine cones to paint, sticks, leaves etc and always learn something new.
Our adventures together have always been so precious to me and without them I don’t think we would have developed such a strong sense of connection, trust and communication together. I have been blessed with the ability to witness H learning so many skills from outdoor play which include balance, self-confidence, curiosity, imagination patience and independence.
As for me, I’ve found that spending time outdoors has always helped me seek clarity, give me more energy, and kick me into gear when I need some perspective. It’s amazing what a little bit of fresh air can do!