Last week an article was shared on Facebook entitled, ‘Why Kids Need Wilderness and Adventure More Than Ever‘.
I read every single word of this article carefully and found myself nodding along in agreement to each and every point.
When I was growing up, my parents would encourage my sister and I out of the house and tell us to return before it got dark.
We’d spend our days wandering the streets with our friends, exploring new places, wading in the stream building dams, playing in the park, riding our bikes, learning to roller skate, and playing pooh sticks. The list of things we’d do was endless.
In the summer if my sister and I weren’t out with our friends, we’d be in the garden building a den or climbing our apple tree.
I look back at my childhood with very fond memories of a simple time spent technology free in the great outdoors.
When I look at my children’s lives I see an element of this, but mainly I see them watching TV and playing indoors.
My husband and I don’t allow our children to go on iPads or phones, but they do have access to our TV, radio and on occasion they’ll get their handheld games consoles out to play on.
However, the start of the new year brought to me a realisation that I want my children to enjoy the simple things in life such as going for a walk on a crisp, autumn day and crunching the leaves underfoot, laying on a sandy beach listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, or simply feeling the breeze on your skin.
I don’t want them to spend their lives indoors staring at a screen, and in order for that to happen, we as parents need to lead by example.
We need to put our phones down, turn the TV off, ditch the car and re-connect with our children and with the great outdoors.
All too often I hear myself saying that it’s too wet or too cold to go for a walk. That we’re running late so we need to take the car or for my children to ‘wait a minute’ while I finish reading someone’s Facebook status. THIS NEEDS TO STOP!
So what if it’s cold and raining? Wrap up warm, pop your wellies on and embrace it! Jump in puddles, get wet and muddy! Have fun!
Wake up a bit earlier so that you have extra time to walk to school instead of taking the car. Have a conversation with your children on the way, see if you can spot any animals on the way, play eye spy and walk home via the park.
Put your phone away and talk to your children. As technology becomes more and more common, it’s sad to see that children are loosing the art of having a face to face conversation.
More and more young adults are locking themselves in their bedrooms and talking to strangers, people they’ve never met before, online.
We need to get back to basics so that our children learn how to live without technology, so that they know how to care and look after wildlife and our environment. Teach them how to plant seeds, to grow fruit and vegetables, to make proper food using homegrown ingredients.
This year I’m determined to do more outdoor things with my children. To shun technology and enjoy the simple things in life.