Kids today are surprisingly tech savvy—they are familiar with the latest gizmos and, in fact, could teach dad a thing or two about using the computer, mobile phone, or console. However, this exceptional ability may be coming at a price. Today’s kids are also becoming increasingly isolated from nature—author Richard Louv calls it ‘nature-deficit disorder’ in his book, Last Child in the Woods.
Child behavior experts believe that awareness of nature is crucial for the healthy development of kids. Besides helping to maintain their physical health, it also increases their learning ability. Being in the outdoors is also supposed to help children who suffer from attention deficit disorder.
These are some of the things you can do to ensure that your kids cultivate a healthy interest in the natural world:
- Arouse wonder. Right from the time they are young, encourage kids to admire the natural world around them. Show them different flowers, birds, and insects and talk about them.
- Offer experience. Kids respond best to practical experience. Introduce them to fun activities that will also give them a taste of nature, such as planting a tree, raising a vegetable patch, or constructing a birdbath or birdfeeder.
- Ensure adventure. America has some of the world’s greatest national parks—make visits to these an integral part of your child’s life. Adventurous activities such as hiking and camping will also ensure that your children grow up with a deep love for the wild outdoors.
- Encourage learning. As they grow up, encourage kids to participate in more serious nature activities by joining a nature club, an astronomy club, etc. Also encourage them to photograph, draw, or write about things they observe.
- Teach conservation. Explain to your kids about why it is necessary to conserve nature. Set an example by doing your best to have a ‘green’ lifestyle.