I have a 9-year old (how is she 9!?!) who is in third grade. She is active. She loves gymnastics-like activities and sports, but could care less about dirt, trees, and would prefer to do almost anything other than hike. I love watching her develop her own personality and passions, and I do my best to encourage them. However, it is hard right now when wide open spaces, lots of air flow, and small groups (limited essentially to immediate family) are essential for safety. Hiking to me seems like the natural solution to boredom–, but not to my daughter.
So, I’ve been watching what she is interested in: mostly screens. She plays Roblox and watches TV sitcoms. Who am I to judge?. I want to escape, too. I’ve now watched seven seasons of the Amazing Race (just started the eighth), immersing myself in a time when people could go anywhere and do anything. All these little escapes allow us to feel a little sense of control or that things are kind of normal. So, I let her play her video games and watch TV, even after a long day of distance- school screen time. And to be honest, I’m out of ideas to make the outdoors interesting to her.
(Going outside to get some exercise and get away from the screens is a great way to play it safe during pandemic precautions)
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the WAEE (Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education) Fall Conference. One of the sessions was titled “Safer at Home: Getting Families Outside” by Allison Martinson. I expected that this session was going to cover ideas for environmental center programming. Instead, it was about a successful parent support group for preschooler parents interested in outdoor learning. The entire time, I was thinking, why don’t I host a parent support group through my position as Program Director of Welty? I could lend my expertise and learn what is working for other parents. I would love some new ideas for how to engage my daughter in the outdoors that also respects her developing personality.
It is my hope that we can chat and support each other…
Starting this weekend, join me via Zoom for Keep it Wild: Parents Support Group. When you register, you will be sent an email with the meeting link and information. It is free, but a link to donate will also be included. During this time, it is my hope that we can chat and support each other as we attempt to share our own wonder for the natural world with our children.
… as we attempt to share our own wonder for the natural world with our children.
I hope to see you this weekend, November 15th at 2pm for our first meeting. If not this weekend, because it is kinda short notice, maybe in two weeks.
I’d like to end this post with one of my favorite childhood quotes that still strongly resonates with me by one of my heroes, Mary Stouffer: “…and until next time, enjoy our wild America.”