Friday, April 5, 2019

There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather

I mentioned in my book review Monday, that I had a whole lot to say about There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather. It was way too much for a paragraph in a book review, so today you get a whole post about a book. If books aren't your jam, then this isn't the post for you. {grin}

Last year, Emily blogged about this book and said it was life-changing, and I whole-heartedly agree. I've blogged two years in a row about wanting to make a more concerted effort to get the kids outside because I know it's really important, and last year I didn't do such a great job, so I doubled down this year. I knew reading this book would motivate me for this, and it totally did!

As backstory, the author grew up in Sweden but lives in America now raising 2 daughters, so a lot of this book covers differences between American child-rearing and Scandinavian but somewhat just about why nature is so important. The title comes from a Scandinavian saying 'There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.' So basically you can always be outside - just dress appropriately.

I know I can't remember then all, but here are some of the points that really stuck with me:

  • Americans focus too much on getting our kids ready for school and take away play from our kids in preschool and kindergarten. I totally agree with this as I see more and more worksheets and focus on beginning to read earlier and earlier. As I read this chapter, I was thinking about how great being at a Montessori school is for this. There is NOT a focus on reading-readiness and the whole class environment is child-led.
  • Being outside is so important for development and helps kids focus when in the classroom. Again another reason I'm so thankful for a Montessori education for our children. Montessori firmly believes in the importance of nature, and the classes often have lessons outside, have gardens {remember the pictures of our school's ORCHARD}, go on nature walks, etc.
  • It actually helps our immune systems to be outside. Studies have shown that preschool classes who spend a significant amount of time outside {even in winter} have less incidences of illness because they aren't in a confined space to share their germs.
  • Helicopter parenting is hindering our children in numerous way - exploring, learning boundaries, developing certain skills to name a few. I am bad at this but have been trying to do better for a long time. My sister read a book a few years ago about the statistics of kids getting kidnapped, murdered, etc. and statistically speaking it's almost impossible. Yet we won't let our kids play outside by themselves like we did as kids. I know so many people who say 'My parents sent me outside in the morning and told me not to come home until dark.' That doesn't happen nowadays! I'm actively forcing myself out of my comfort zone on this one - Trent has been bike-riding with a neighbor lately by themselves!
I feel like there were a lot more things the author pointed out, but I can't remember all of them - bottom line - there's nothing negative about being outside ha.

So where does that leave me and my goals for the kids?

The kids get about an hour outside every day at school. My goal on school days is to spend another hour outside. The challenge with this is a) doing our chores, b) I still try to work when we get home, c) the kids don't really want to, and d) I need to make dinner at some point. What's happening right now is: chores aren't happening that consistently {but I'm working on the right timing}, and I'm bribing the kids with screen time - we can all go outside and if they play/help with Paige so I can work, they can have screen time when we come inside and I make dinner OR they go outside with Paige and I do some picking up/keep working and they get screen time. I don't like them having screen time every day, but I'm working on establishing being outside as part of the normal, so it's worth it in the meantime...I think.

What do we do outside? 

The swing is a HUGE hit, and I wish we had more yard stuff - playscape, trampoline, something, but Brent has vetoed everything I've looked at, ha. The kids blow bubbles, play with some giant balls we have, play with Play-doh, run in the sprinklers, we take walks...anything I can think of.

I also intend for us to be outside at least 2 hours on weekend days and as the weather warms up, I want us to get outside FIRST THING in the morning to get a jump start on the time AND before it gets so dang hot. The pool will help too because we love to swim in the summers!

Have I bored everyone or do you want to read this book? Ha!


Kathryn Bagley said...

Not bored..ha! And I was thinking back to when we would have been that age and you're right. Terri was my bff and I would walk or ride my bike to her house (or stephanie g) and there was no worry about if I would make it there safely or not (you know what i mean). We would walk to the WB pool as a group of kids and that was "normal" we'd walk home after. It's just so different now! I think you've got a good plan! Would Brent let yall get a trampoline with a protector around it? i think i heard the house insurance or whatever it is to have a trampoline keeps people from getting one??

Erika said...

I'm dying to read the book, but it is still languishing on my holds list, "waiting for a copy." Come on, Georgia libraries!! When you mentioned the book a few weeks ago, I was looking at it on Goodreads and I feel like one critical reviewer made some really excellent points that I'm going to be keeping in mind as I read and try to adapt her ideas to what can work with our lives- namely, this reviewer pointed out that the Scandinavian climate (and climate of wherever the lady lives in America- I guess somewhere with a colder climate??) and geography lends itself well to this philosophy (you can put on enough layers to play outside no matter how cold it is). Apparently the author also is a big fan of kids being barefoot too (when warm enough, haha). But this girl was like- this isn't necessarily true to people in extremely hot climates, or environments where there are legitimate dangers on the ground that make it unsafe for tiny children (barefoot or not) to be digging in the dirt. Apparently the book author throws some shade at cultures that wear their babies/children in wraps all the time, but the reviewer was like "well in environments where mothers are working in fields with hookworm infested dirt, this isn't being overly attached, this is saving your child's life." And like- in places where there is no shade and it's above 100 can't take off enough clothes to make that a safe environment for kids to play unencumbered for hours on end- heat, sunburn risk, etc. Not that my Georgia climate is THAT extreme, but I did find this review to have some interesting points that I look forward to considering as I read!! Anyway, I have been working more on letting/making Millie play outside a lot. I like that our new house has windows all along the back side, so I can see the entire backyard and she can play safely while I do whatever inside. We do have a playscape, but I've let her know it's perfectly fine if she'd rather get sticks from the woods and dig in the mud or build stuff with sticks, and lately she's been getting a kick out of that. :) Anyway, sorry for writing a novel here. Ha!

Emily said...

I never did an actual review of the book but you most definitely hit the important points I noticed. I am just shocked at how obsessed our society is with “school readiness.” With Aaron in Kindergarten and Oliver as a toddler, I’m *constantly* talking about preschool options with other parents. I am shocked by how many stay-at-home moms insist on 4 or 5 day a week preschool for their kids so they can “be ready for kindergarten” (Aaron went 3 days a week and was def bored the first half of kindergarten). Also whenever I tell people Oliver is going to a nature school next year, a major response is concern over his ability to adapt from a child-led open environment to the rigors of school (again, I consider play to be more important than readiness). The immunity was something that was new to me, although I can clearly see the benefits this winter as my kids were so rarely sick compared to their peers (also can be a result of diet, but I suspect it’s a mix). In short, SO GLAD you like it!