Children are naturally born with an innate curiosity and parents need to help them satisfy that need. But how do you get a 21-st kid who can’t get their eyes off the screen to understand and interact with nature? There are many benefits that accrue when a child takes interest in nature like gaining inspiration, perspective, entertainment and even comfort. With the fast-paced and complex nature of modern life, teaching your kid to have an appreciation of nature is a precious gift that will last for as long as they live. Here are six ways to accomplish this task.
Don’t Think About Nature Time As Leisure Time
Like most things in life, time in nature is a crucial investment in a child’s general well-being. That said, changing your mindset will certainly change your mentalities. You will be more likely to engage in nature if you think of it as being good for your health. Otherwise, thinking of nature time as leisure time will only serve as a distraction.
Start When They Are Young
If there is one thing that history has taught us, it’s that first impressions are lasting impressions. Even at six months olds, babies show an incredible interest in nature. Children look to their parents for guidance during the first two years of their lives. It is during this time that you should seize the moment and instill a love for nature in your child.
For instance, you can take them to a quiet spot to listen to the birds sing. Better yet, invest in a baby carrier backpack or a jogging stroller and take them with you when you venture into the wild. If you love taking an evening stroll in the park, bring your child along with you and let him share the peacefulness that such an adventure brings.
Help Them Observe
If your child is old enough, don’t hesitate to equip him with a better means to explore nature. From the local flora and fauna to the miniature world of insects and swirling skies, having the right equipment would go a long way towards instilling a love for nature.
A child-sized binocular or monocular is a good start when going out in nature. You can also buy your child a journal for keeping records of their adventures in the wild, a topographical map that helps them navigate and local wildlife books. They can pin the places they visit on the map while reading local wildlife books helps enhance their outings. The local library is a good place to find these resources.
Try New Activities
If you are tired of rock climbing, consider trying new activities like kayaking, hiking or even zip lining with your child. The sense of curiosity keeps children yarning for different things and trying a new activity every once in a while can prove detrimental to your goal. Switch up the activities you do together to keep them interested. Keep in mind that you don’t always have to moving. Something as simple as sitting and observing the night sky or listening to the chirping crickets is sometimes enough.
Make Time For Unstructured Outdoor Play
Today’s children spend a lot of time on their phones and computers. You can reduce that screen time by replacing it with some nature time. Designate specific time of the week where they have to be outdoors. Rather than watch sports on TV, let them go outside and play. You can tag along and indulge in the fun activities. This will make for a great family bonding time while instilling love for nature in your children.
Give Your Children An Area To Steward
Whether it’s a nearby spot in nature, a small section of the garden or a wild corner of the yard, giving the child a responsibility of its stewardship can prove beneficial for your course. This can be something as simple as setting out seeds to help birds during the winter, observing changes in the assigned area as seasons change, or even freshening the water in a bird bath. For older children, you can have them maintain a birdfeeder, maintain a vegetable patch or even create a wildlife habitat in the backyard. This helps instill a sense of responsibility for the environment, which is incredibly important at a young age.
With the environment facing so many threats, it is important that parents teach children about nature. It is the best assurance that children will make wise choices when it comes to the environment. This will also promote the values of sustainability for the benefit of everyone.