Can you believe it’s almost time for the kids to go back to school already? If you have little ones at home then maybe, like me, you will be cramming in the last bit of holiday fun. The weather forecast for the next few days is a bit of a mixed bag but it is so worth us getting outdoors as much as we can and making the most of the waning summer. And while we’re out there lets remember that we’re not just there to watch the children play … it’s our chance to have some fun too! In the video I’m about to share with you, Rob Cowen & Leo Critchley, the authors of the book Skimming Stones, share their belief that our health and wellbeing depend on us getting out into nature and to really benefit from it – mind, body and soul – we need to give time to the child within, to engage with nature without inhibitions … to play!
Of course we don’t need a school holiday, or a child in tow, to give us an excuse to get silly on fresh air. How fantastic would it be to have a time of the week, or a daily routine, where we get let go of the restraints of responsibility and have fun in the great wide open? The very idea is bliss.
Here are four things that my son, Cian, thinks us grown ups should try to do more often:
1) Act silly
Cian says that we are far too serious and that the way we walk, talk and act can be very boring. He challenges all of us to have a silly face match with a friend, or to get really messy with mud or paint, and to see what a good feeling it brings. Here’s a perfect two minute reminder, from the late Robin Williams, about why that could be a very good idea …
2) Use our imagination
The way Cian sees it, there’s nothing to lose in make believing. Maybe the toy is just a piece of plastic but it’s more fun to build a character for it and to bring it to life. It’s more fun to believe. So what about the ocean, the forest, the bright silver moon? Is it ‘just’ nature or are we in the presence of an ancient spirit, deity, a God or Goddess? What if we were to believe and, just for that moment, to commune with the whispering tide or the breeze that sings through the leaves above? We can build a moment and bring it to life!
3) Do things just because we want to
Apparently us grown ups are doing things for some very important reason or other. I’ve been picked up on always asking Cian why he is doing whatever it is he might be doing. Apparently he does the random things he does ‘just because he wants to’. We spend so much of our day doing all the things that ‘need’ doing, maybe it is important for us to do things, as often as we possibly can, for no reason at all – other than we simply feel like it.
4) Draw how we feel
My son’s school once did an exercise where they asked the children to draw a representation of their feelings – they explained to the parents how this was to teach them to express themselves and to understand that every emotion is valid and okay to have. I’ve encouraged Cian to draw pictures of how he feels ever since as it struck me as such a helpful idea for his emotional development. Today he asked me why I don’t do it and suggested that the things that help children can help grown ups too. Well, I’m no good at art, but I don’t think that’s really the point, so I’ll be giving it a go. I’m setting myself a challenge to draw a quick doodle of my feelings at least once every day, for the next four weeks. I invite you to do the same.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the week to the fullest – whether you’ve got kids home from school or not. And if you have any children who are nervous about starting school, or about going up a class, there are some excellent books listed below to help them through it.