There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather – A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids
Author: Linda Åkeson McGurk
Publisher: Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2017
Source: Personal Purchase
Remember the last time you suggested to your kids to go out and play? I’ll bet that suggestion met with plenty of resistance. “It’s too cold (or hot).” “It’s snowing (or raining).” “There is nothing to do outside.” Or maybe you simply heard, “I don’t want to.”
There is plenty of research that tells us that yes, kids should go outside. (It’s good for adults, too, but we’re talking about kids here….) Åkeson McGurk cites many of excellent resources, but what I really like it that it is tempered with plenty of good, old-fashioned common sense. She has children herself, raised in the United States, so she understands the subject not only from a professional standpoint, but a personal one as well.
I’d like to share Åkeson McGurk’s Scandinavian mom’s “Get Up and Go Outside” manifesto:
- There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.
Scandinavians have found ways to deal with long, dark, and cold winters. “Snow happens. Sleet happens. Ice happens. Cold temperatures happen. Life goes on.” And it can go on without whining! (much, anyway) Not only are there ways to make your indoors comforting, (check out pg. 11 for ideas), but it’s no reason not to continue to embrace the outdoors – which brings us to….
- Dress for the weather.
This section gives plenty of suggestions for how to dress for the weather each season. I’ve got an additional idea: check out the L.L. Bean catalog.
- Fresh air is good for you.
More and more research is showing that outdoor time may be just the antidote we need for many of our current issues. It may help lessen symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, and depression. It also helps prevent obesity, lower risk of infections and help with Vitamin D deficiency. And as for the cost of treatment vs. the cost of outdoor time – let’s just say it is one of the biggest bargains you will ever find.
- Just let them play.
It doesn’t have to be like school (and shouldn’t be) – completely scheduled and regimented. Unstructured outdoor play helps a child’s development just as much, which again which brings us to the next point….
- A little dirt won’t hurt.
Don’t put the kibosh on mud pies. It really won’t hurt and as Åkeson McGurk’s research shows, it may even be helpful in resisting immunological disorders.
- Freedom with responsibility.
Although the great outdoors is wonderful for kids, as with everything else there needs to be a balance. Just because they are outside (and perhaps out of eyeshot some of that time, depending on the ages involved) they are not running wild. Not matter where you live, there are some risks and appropriate – but not overprotective – supervision is needed.
- Unplug to connect.
We can learn to live with a lot less technology. Yes, it is necessary to our modern lifestyle, but we can learn to do things like TALK and not TEXT each other. Truly, a break from the electronics is good and outdoor activities give us opportunities to make that change.
- It takes a village.
One parent (or a couple) alone probably can’t completely convince their kids that the outside is wonderful. Find some like-minded friends, or get involved with school programs and clubs that make outdoor time an integral part of their program.
- We are one with nature.
This is my favorite tip. As Åkeson McGurk says, “Children and nature make a really good fit” (pg. 258). However, I feel it is even more important than that. We all need to remember that we are one with nature. How we interact with nature affects all of us in so many ways. We would do well to remember it.