By now, most of us know that we need to limit screen time for our kids and get them moving, but we know less about what kind of movement our kids need and why it is so critical for their overall development. We want opportunities for our kids to be ready to learn and to be successful in school. For instance, we might worry that our three-year-old can’t write their name yet, or we might brag about our four-year-old’s good reading ability. But I’ll let you in on a secret: The easiest, most affordable, and powerful developmental opportunity you can provide for your child is to allow them the space and time for unstructured, active, outdoor play in nature. Here’s why.
While shopping recently, a teen celebrity magazine caught my daughter’s eye. I was prepared for the begging to kick in, which would quickly be followed by the pouting when I refused to purchase the magazine for her. But I was pleasantly surprised when she didn’t even ask me to pay for the magazine. She quietly put it back on the shelf and followed me when I told her it was time to move on with our shopping.
When I see my kid flipping out over not getting a toy at the grocery store checkout aisle, scary things pop into my head. I picture my kid, in the future, throwing a pen across the room at their boss when they don’t get the promotion they want. I also picture them trying unsuccessfully to deal with things I have to deal with every day: road rage, a tantrum-y toddler, impatience over a failing recipe. And this is why I am determined to raise a resilient, problem-solving child, one who is able to roll with the punches life will inevitably throw their way.
Do you wonder what you can do to help your baby become a strong learner, and ultimately successful in life? When you understand a few things about child development, it’s easy to support and assist their development, with lifelong benefits. Babies are born to learn. The first 18 months of life are crucial in creating the structures we use to learn, to think, to feel, and to express ourselves throughout our lives. These are developed through movement.
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