Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Toddle softly and carry a big stick
Get outside strategy: don't worry so much.
Yep, my toddler carries sticks wherever she goes. She teethes on them. And sand, too, when a little grit is needed. She finds "choking hazards" wherever she goes, picks them up to carry around with her, and sometimes pops them in her mouth. She crawls up the slide. She climbs to the top of any ladder or staircase she can find. She chases chickens and probably steps in their poop along the way. She trips over exposed roots, lands on gravel, scrapes her knees.
She's learning to navigate her world safely, and she's amazingly adept at it. She is not afraid of nature, because we're not afraid to let her explore it. At the playground, I often see babies and toddlers held by their parents or contained in strollers or swings to "protect" them from the world. In my experience, however, sheltering them in this way means they're less protected when they're on their own two feet, because they haven't had enough experience exploring their own boundaries. Getting outside with babies and toddlers when you're anxious for their safety is really hard. Trust in their competence and resilience, and it becomes much easier.
Play along with us during the month of April for Children and Nature Awareness Month by posting a picture of your child(ren) each day enjoying the outdoors! Get outdoors and climb a tree!