Last week I wrote about how children are more distanced from nature than ever before. Many of you may have read “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv (if not – I highly recommend it). It is in this book that he coins the term – Nature Deficit Disorder. Nature Deficit Disorder refers to the price our mental and physical health, productivity and ability to learn suffer when we become alienated from nature. In specific reference to children, this often means that unique sense of wonder suffers.
With many parents busy with work, helping children with homework, driving or organizing transportation to and from after-school activities, cooking and cleaning, there is less time left to connect with nature. While we may continually justify this by arguing that our children participate in outdoor sports and recreational activities, what we fail to recognize is that this is different than immersing ourselves in nature.
Connecting with nature means putting away the technology – yes, including the cellphone – and going for a walk in a trail or the woods. It means listening to the sounds of nature, taking in the views and really getting in touch with the natural world that surrounds us. Moreover, it is beneficial not only to children but also to their adults and people of all ages.
Make connecting with nature a family activity and create lasting memories.
As summer gets closer and you are contemplating where to go for an annual family vacation, consider camping. However, instead of camping in a site just off of a developed area where the trees are sparse, try camping in a park (where permitted) so that your family can enjoy the natural surroundings. Try to keep the technology turned off or put away as much as possible so that real connections can occur.
If traveling is not in the upcoming plans, remember that the Metro Vancouver regional parks system is ready and waiting to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
Do not be afraid to bundle up and enjoy this rainy Vancouver weather by jumping in a few puddles at one of the regional parks!