Nature has been there for me long before I became a mom – playing in her streams, hiking her beautiful landscapes, and breathing her fresh air. And just like with our own moms we respect and appreciate her more as we get older and wiser.
Nature – and her powers to soothe, inspire, heal and restore – makes me a better mom. Nature is the ultimate mom hack.
Make Deep Connections
In a world barraged with constant distraction, nature has helped me connect with my children. We all want those deep connections with our loved ones and in nature I can focus all of my attention on my kids. Recently on a walk through the redwoods, my oldest son saw a circle of towering, majestic trees. It sparked a discussion about fairy circles and the vast, complicated, and cool ecosystems of the forest.
I find our conversations are longer and deeper in nature. My children are more perceptive and inquisitive. My answers are more thoughtful and less rushed. Even moments of silly jokes like “would you rather?” along the trail strengthen our bond. Communication and understanding are heightened under nature’s peaceful canopy.
Be Mindful and Restorative
Nature teaches me and my children to be mindful. Nature activates the senses. Sitting in our backyard after dinner, we gaze together at the beautiful dark sky and take in the nature around us. My children point out all the different sounds they hear, they notice unusual shadows, and together we ponder the brightness of each star and the moon.
I also tell them to become aware of all that is them. To notice their breathing, and breathe deeper. To notice how they are sitting and adjust. To close their eyes and notice the feeling of their eyeballs. To relax all their muscles – the muscles in their mouth, hands, and face. Focus and become aware, relax, and restore.
Increase Health and Happiness
After a day outdoors exploring, my children glow. They are healthier and happier after experiences in nature. We have all seen the studies showing that nature helps reduce anxiety, anger, confusion, depression, fatigue, and hormonal shifts. Fresh air soothes the senses, lets our lungs dilate more fully, and is healthier than indoor air quality. It’s hard not to run around and play when we are outside, keeping my family moving and active. My children’s ingenuity and creativity is activated when they are when climbing rocks and trees. I see their coordination and confidence grow as they progress in their abilities.
Nature has supported me as a mother. She is the best ally a parent could ask for. This Mother’s Day and everyday, I am going to celebrate mother nature who sustains life for us all on this beautiful planet.
We always hear nature vs. nurture, well why can’t it be both? I am nurturing by nature.
For more information about the benefits of nature for children, check out the award-winning book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.