The winter school holidays are here. After months of rain and another cold snap over New Zealand, it seems ridiculous to even think about the kids playing outside for very long. But there are many sensible reasons to send or take the children outside to play in winter. Here are a few ~
# lowers the level of friction between siblings
# burns up excess energy
# prevents them from being dominated by ‘unhealthy’ technology preoccupations
# returns them home tired and ready to be calm and sleep well
# provides them with opportunities to discover new things
# satisfies their curiosity to explore
# develops their thinking and decision making faculties
# improves their physical fitness
# possibly helps towards keeping them out of the high percentage of obese children in our country
WHERE CAN KIDS GO IN WINTER?
Private or public gardens
For outside time with the kids to be a success and not result in kids being bored or mum being taxed, there needs to be a plan.
1. On arrival let the kids roar off, be noisy, let off steam… Leave children to themselves and take in what they want. This needs to be a large part of outside time, where children organize what they want to do. [If you freak-out at this suggestion because you don’t have confidence that your child could be trusted doing this, then feel free to contact me via my website – www.awaytoparent.com I would love to help.]
2. Some moments can be grabbed by mum “to train the (child’s) seeing eye, the hearing ear…”, using what is right there at the location. Facts, simply given for them to think on, can “germinate, blossom, and bear fruit, without further help or knowledge” from mum. This is like giving the child a special tidbit of information – ‘it’s the moon that causes the waves to keep rolling into the beach.’
3. There is a lot of benefit for children to be on their own - sitting on a rock, nestling into long grass, resting in a tree branch, to ponder, watch, look, or follow what is happening around them. Give them private thinking time.
4. Then physical activity such as running, climbing, jumping, hopping, skipping, rolling, frog jumping, include a ball or Frisbee…. You can give a suggestion or initiate the action. It can be a group thing or individual.
5. Finally, always finish with drinks and food.
The point of being outside can be lost or compromised if ~
1. Mum thinks she needs to or tries to entertain the children.
2. Mum dominates by talking, explaining, or directing children in what to do. Just think, if you took your child to a circus or performance, would you talk over the acts, directing the children how to think about what they were seeing? So when outside let them think their own thoughts.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ make a plan, plan to go outside and spend time enjoying nature and each other.
More ideas on this subject to come next time.