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!

7 comments:

Karen said...

She looks so cute, with her sticks!

I was much, much better at getting my younger one out in nature at a young age than my older one; guess which of them doesn't mind sand in shoes or wet pant legs now?
Oh, the damage we do without even knowing it...
:-)

Annie said...

Ha! She's so darn cute with her sticks! Viva le freedom!

Julie said...

Wonderful post! If the "grown ups" in children's lives would "relax a little" we would definitely have more competent children in this world! Bravo Lise:)

Child in Harmony said...

Precious little bundle of joy!

5orangepotatoes said...

FANTASTIC post!!!!! I have so many mothers ask me, "well, how do you get your toddler/baby to enjoy nature?" This is how you do it! BRAVO!!!!

lisa

nocton4 said...

this is such an inspiring post, I LOVE your words about not being afraid of nature because you're not afraid to let her explore ... perfect
x

Ruby said...

totally agree. My husband is less enthusiastic about this style of parenting young children....but I keep on keeping on :)