It’s archives week here at SMB. Here’s one from our early days:
When I was 6 years old, my family lived on one acre in the Tennessee countryside. One neighbor had horses and the other had cows complete with a pond full of tadpoles. I remember playing outside for hours and hours (yes, I have a very early memory). I discovered birds nests, cocoons, leaves, flowers, wild strawberries… Make-believe could last all afternoon. I’d come inside and be refreshed by sweet sun tea. Breath in that fresh air!
As I think about the world my daughter will grow up in, I hope that she will be able to explore and discover the nature for herself (and not just on the Discovery Channel). I’ve read several articles about recess, more recess and nature-deficit disorder. The bottom line is that activity is important for the mental and physical development of our little ones. And, where it was once easy for children to play for hours on their own or run around in their neighborhoods, we now need to be much more intentional to set aside time AND space.
In fact, the Active Living Research Program found that “the best predictor of preschool children’s physical activity is simply being outdoors and that indoor sedentary childhood is linked to mental health problems.” (From Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv) Whoah! That’s a bold statement! But, it makes sense to me. When I’ve been inside all day (especially during the Summer months), I am much more ho-hum than when I’ve been out walking or running or catch a glimpse of a glorious Arizona sunset!
I love technology and all the great ways it helps us connect, learn and experience the world. But I also realize it’s easy to get sucked into the mesmerizing lights of the big screen. With the powerful pull of video games, T.V., movies, phones… it’s hard to remember that nature has something to offer our kids too.
Here’s a good idea for balancing technology with life:
One friend recently got a Wii introduced to her family. (So fun!!) But her son is only allowed to play it on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On those days only, she coordinates with a neighbor friend to play it together, but only if he has met his responsibilities for the week. (He’s in first grade.) On the other days, she is certain to keep him as free as possible so that he can spend time with his sisters, play in the backyard, build forts or hunt for bugs or battle for the intergalactic dominance (he’s really into Star Wars). What a great tip!
What do you think? Are you pro video games/T.V.? Against? How do you help your family keep a healthy balance?
Joy is the Co-founder of Scottsdale Moms Blog and absolutely loves living in Scottsdale with her hubby Kevin, their daughter Reagan (born August 2009) and their son Elliot (born May 2011). She is a lover of nature, a research analyst on all things related to life, a home manager, a crafty art-eest, Chief Marketing Officer for Cactus CrossFit, mommy, daughter and friend.