Children who do not have significant contact with the natural world in their early years can become ‘biophobic’ or afraid of nature – EYFS research. Is your child a victim of this phenomenon?
Transformations happen in children when exposed to nature during their early childhood; something that’s achingly absent today. It’s disheartening to see how we fail to provide holistic education to our children. In countries like the UK, Australia and the US, the government has policies and programs within the education system that supports and encourages outdoor learning.
How the outdoors transform a child
A small trek in the hills can show parents how much potential their own child has in terms of personality and creativity. Once in the wilderness, children instinctively become inquisitive, confident, stronger and attentive. They start exhibiting qualities of leadership, team spirit, environmental consciousness and concern for those around them. It’s in nature that they get an opportunity to see and feel things. It brings to life the lessons they had learnt in their classrooms.
Overprotecting children can harm them
It’s not uncommon to come across children who’ve never climbed a tree or played hop scotch in the rain. We see children reluctant to get themselves ‘dirty’ by playing in mud and getting paranoid at the sight of blood from a small wound when they fall. Parents play a large role in overprotecting their children and depriving them of natural experiences out of fear that they will get hurt or ill. These fears pass on to children and they become more and more fearful and cut off from nature.
Considering we all are the part of a giant race where India is driving technology forward, there will be fewer hills and lakes around us as days go by. And the saddest fact is that the outskirts of our cities – some of which are still green and wild – will become concretized and unrecognizable in a while.
So the time is now. Instead of taking your children to the malls, take them to the hills. Show them how to scramble over rocks. Encourage them as they fall in love with the beauty of nature. Give them an experience that will forever be etched in their memories.