Solitary activities like exploring the Great Outdoors are key to building strong bonds between children and nature and social activities as a family can help cement this bond, say scientists at North Carolina State University. If you have a new baby, you may wish to start the human-nature connection quickly and there are many ways you can do so both indoors and outdoors. As soon as your child displays curiosity in natural elements, foods, and experience, you can encourage them to build bonds that will help them when they are older. Countless studies have shown that time in nature can help lower stress, improve focus, and boost the mood, so the sooner your child makes it a priority in their lives, the better.
Natural and Organic Foods
When your child starts weaning, you may be surprised to learn how quick and delicious baby purée recipes are, and you may start experimenting with different fruit and vegetable combinations. From the start, bring the best of nature into their lives by opting for organic produce. A study by researchers at Newcastle University in the UK has found that organic fruits and vegetables contain “substantially higher” (up to 69%) more antioxidants than those which are grown conventionally. By introducing your child to bountiful food, you can begin their profound and healthful relationship with nature.
If your baby is feeling a little fussy or cranky, try taking them for a stroll and notice their mood begin to lift as they view flowers, trees, and leaves. Nature is a moving masterpiece whose beauty children can appreciate from babyhood onwards. Even if you are outside doing chores, your baby can accompany you from her chair or baby swing. Some baby swings move and have music; these can keep children entertained while they take in the beauty of the world outside. Many children even fall asleep so take advantage of the spare moments by doing a few yoga asanas, saluting the sunrise, or simply practicing a few breathing exercises while your baby nods off. Just make sure that whatever chairs and swings you choose are 100% safe and recommended by other parents.
Growing a Garden
If you have a big enough yard or even a terrace, you might like to grow a garden/herb garden – something your child can help you with from around toddler-age onwards. Your child can see in person how their actions can affect nature positively by doing everything from planting trees to watering herbs in a small pot. It can be wondrous for children to watch tomatoes or herbs growing and to harvest their produce and taste them. Growing a garden is also a highly educational way for kids to discover where food comes from. If you can, grow your garden naturally, using techniques and tips from movements like permaculture. The latter emphasizes sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices as a way to grow gardens in various ‘layers’.
Whether you are a new mom or you have many little ones running around your home, harness the power of nature to make your children healthier and happier. There are so many ways to do so, ranging from small steps (such as buying organic) to larger ones (such as setting up a permaculture garden in your backyard). Know that the time your child spends outside will help them relax and build bonds that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.