Nature and nurture: the benefits of spending quality time in nature with children
This blog post is brought to you by Fostering Hampshire Children. Check out their #OpenYourDoor campaign to learn more about what foster care is and how you can support children across the county who need our help.
Nurturing positive relationships with children is vital for their personal development and a secure bond with their care giver helps them to become confident, friendly, and resilient. The outdoors is a fantastic place to spend time with your child, so we’ve put together a list of reasons to get out into nature together.
Research has shown that spending time with your child outdoors offers the chance to establish deeper connections than you would get in an indoor setting. The calm of the countryside reduces distractions you get in an urban space or at home. Surprisingly, it’s parents who tend to become more distracted by the stimuli of everyday life, which means your child won’t be getting your full attention. When your child is given your undivided attention, they develop a more secure attachment to their care giver, which can improve their emotional regulation.
Sharing hobbies has lots of benefits
Outdoor activities give children the chance to practice personal skills they might not get from spending time indoors. Fishing teaches patience, playing teaches creativity, growing plants teaches nurture, and so on. There are so many benefits to sharing a hobby with your child, including improving their self-esteem and promoting communication. You can encourage them to persevere and be patient with themselves if they don’t take to the activity straight away. As well as this, having a shared passion is a great way to create conversation opportunities, which can be helpful if you’re developing a relationship with a stepchild or foster child, for example.
Create precious memories
Sharing quality time outdoors allows you to create special memories with your child. Whether that’s through playing, gardening, sports, or something else, those moments are sure to be treasured for a long time. Creating these memories is a great way to strengthen relationships and can help children feel a greater sense of belonging in the family, which is especially important for blended or foster families.
Feel the freedom of the outdoors
Going for a walk is a great way for you and your child to connect in a low-pressure environment. If they don’t feel like talking much, you can let nature carry the conversation. Natural sounds like birdsong will fill silences, and you can spark conversations about all the interesting things you spot. As well as this, if your child finds eye-contact uncomfortable, walking side-by-side immediately minimises the likelihood of making eye contact.
Spending time in the outdoors is a great way to create a strong bond with your child. All that’s left for you to do is get out there! If you need some inspiration, why not read our blog post of ideas for fun in the countryside. Let us know what you try and be sure to tag us in any pictures of your day out on Facebook or Instagram.