Why a Naturekid?
To increase the self-confidence and mental resilience of your children, get them outside!!
In his landmark book Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv lays out a compelling case for getting children back outdoors. Correcting what he calls "nature deficit disorder" is as simple as restoring a child's connection with nature. Not only does outdoor activity combat childhood obesity and improve agility and motor skills, but also it seems to insulate children from anxiety and depression while improving their measure of self-worth. According to a Cornell University study, this protective impact of nature is strongest for the most vulnerable children - those experiencing the highest levels of stressful life events. Numerous other studies corroborate these these findings.
The digital revolution marches on, so what can be done to at least bring some balance into a child's life? We need to bring back the "primary experience" in which a child can see, feel, taste, hear, and smell the world for himself. So says professor Edward Reed in his book The Necessity of Experience. Affording a child opportunities to engage with the natural world is critical in providing sensory experiences that link a child's exterior world with his inner self.
Here are some suggestions for bringing semblance of balance back into your child's life:
- Limit the time your child spends on cell phones, video games, internet browsing, and other digital activities.
- See to it that your child spends time outside every day.
- Give your child tools and incentives to boost her interest in the natural world.
- Take your child to nearby parks on a regular basis, and try to visit one of our remarkable National Parks at least once a year. Remember that watching a special on the Discovery Channel is not a “primary experience”!
- Incorporate Technology into the outdoors. Try geocaching or letterboxing. Set up a webcam at a bird nesting box. Have your child log his National Park experience and pictures on the NP WebRangers site.