Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder” (NDD) which sums up how we’ve allowed our children to lose connection with nature only to replace it with walls, windows, screens and inherent associated risks such as obesity and depression. NDD is not just a city phenomenon either, it can be as true of city-based families as country-based ones. That’s why it’s so important to get out and about, especially during school holidays.
Our kids’ Christmas present this year was a few days at horse camp so they could not only enjoy a deeper connection with these magnificent creatures, but also connect with nature on a larger scale. It was hilarious when we turned up for a visit and they smugly told us: “We haven’t had a shower in 4 days!” While they waited for the look of horror, they all started grinning: “We’ve been washing in the river!”
Not only that, they learnt that tadpoles give a great free pedicure at the end of a long day in riding boots…something people in beauty salons can sometimes pay a premium for! And all the while they were surrounded by nature and her fresh running water, a gentle breeze and dappled sunlight through magestic trees.
It’s vital our children connect with nature, not just for their own health, but for Planet Earth’s health. The more connected our kids are to nature, the less likely they’ll sit idly by as it is destroyed.
What’s something you can do with your children today to get them out and about in nature? Visit a local waterway? Plant a flower or two? Grab some binoculars and go bird watching in a city park? Make mud pies? Collect fallen leaves and make art? Ideas any one?