There is so much parenting advice out there! All around the world, experts want to tell the right way to raise kids. All this parenting advice can feel overwhelming and confusing, and can even fuel comparison and judgement between parents. There is one parenting expert, however, that never imposes. She gently teaches us, and invites us to slow down and see the world of parenting a little differently. Mother Nature has many things she would like to show us if we are willing to walk alongside her.
1. Slow down and make time for rest.
“C’mon! Let’s go!” I shouted as we rushed out the door to our next activity. For most parents, life is race from one activity to another. We drive our kids to school, sports, dance, art, music and play dates, and even though our children are exhausted, we’re on the brink of a meltdown, and our relationships are neglected, yet we boast about our jam-packed schedules.
Spend some time with Mother Nature and she’ll whisper two comforting words into your heart: slow down. You can choose to say no to the parenting rat race. It doesn’t have to be this way. Your children will grow and blossom if they are given the time and space to simply be. So, instead of registering your child in more sport or dance classes, set aside some time for watching the clouds float by.
- Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
2. Be patient with your child and yourself.
“Adopt the pace of Nature, her secret is Patience” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Why? why?” I questioned my child angrily. My patience was running thin, and his behaviour was spiraling downwards. I was feeling frustrated and wondering what to do. As he stomped up to his room the phone ran, it was my friend calling to see if we wanted to join her for a walk to the creek. “Yes, I would love that!” I answered, “it’s just what we need right now”.
Some parents are gifted with an abundance of patience, but I am not that parent. Patience is something I have had to cultivate with care and intention. Unlike myself, Mother Nature is very patient. She doesn’t rush an unfurling flower. She waits, patiently.
Mother Nature invites us treat our own children in the same way, with patience. Each child grows at their own rate and must be lovingly tended to unfurl and bloom. When you feel your patience dissolve, step outside and breathe deep. Tune into nature by bringing your children to the park, for a stroll along a trail or to the flowers. Let Mother Nature share her secret with you: Patience.
3. Embrace change when it happens.
The moment I think I’ve figured out my child, or life in general, something changes: a loved one dies, a child gets older, family moves, friendships end and new owns begin. Life is unpredictable and always changing.
Who better than to teach us to embrace change than Mother Nature? She is constantly changing! Days and nights are part of a great cycle of seasons and years. Instead of fearing change, or resisting change, learn to embrace and celebrate change.
I have always find it helpful to celebrate seasonal changes in nature with my children. We celebrate the coming of spring and the promise of new life, and embrace the cold dark nights that winter brings.
Celebrate the Seasons:
- 7 Fun Ways to Celebrate Spring Equinox with Kids
- 9 Magical Ways to Celebrate May Day with Kids
- 7 Wonderful Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice with Kids
- 7 Winter Carnival Activities for Kids
4. Be an example of resilience to your child.
Walking through a burned forest, it’s plain to see how destructive fire can be. Look a little closer and you will also notice how fire makes room for new growth and new life. Storms, fires, floods and strong winds batter Mother Nature, but she is beautifully resilient.
In life bad things happen. These can be little, inconvenient things or really awful experiences. Loosing loved ones, experiencing broken relationships, seeing our own child seriously ill… terrible terrible things happen. When faced with these things let Mother Nature hold you. Spend time outside and let her remind you, that like herself, you are strong and resilient.
5. Teach your children to be generous.
Mother Nature gives us so much. The air we breath, the water we drink and every flower, bird and bee. Nature can teach us so much about being generous to our children, and how to teach them to be generous in turn.
Like nature, teach your children to be generous with what they have. Sometime children feel like they don’t have much to give, and as parents we can feel the same, but generosity can take many forms. Children and parents can be generous with their time, with what they have and with their interests and talents. We all have something we can give.
6. Show your child that growing never stops.
Growth is the heartbeat of Mother Nature and we are part of that growth. Babies grown into children, and youth into adults. Even as adults we continue to grow. We learn and become wiser with age. Never be afraid to learn something new, and to encourage your children to do the same. Learn a new skill, hobby or language and become a better version of yourself.
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
- Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It (for kids)
- What Do You Do With an Idea? (for kids)
7. Don’t forget to play!
“Can I go play now?” questioned my youngest as he was wiggling in his chair.
Play is such an important part of Mother Nature. Mammals, birds, reptiles and even bugs play! Play isn’t just a fun diversion for kids, play is how children learn. Play is important for adults too! Make plenty of time for free play your children and yourself by restricting screen time and being careful not to over-schedule your days.
- Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul
- Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children
- Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
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