I went back to work and my little bear cub started daycare. The summer was magnificent, filled with days at splash pads, free sing and sign classes at the library, play dates, weekends spent outdoors all day at my in-laws upstate house, and numerous other exciting outings. I had just as much fun, if not more, than he did. But alas all good things come to an end and it was back to work after labor day for me and into daycare for the first time for him.
The daycare does not take him outdoors as much as I thought. I try my best to supplement by walking him to the park, letting him play, then walking home. The outing in its entirety lasts about 1-1.5 hours. I believe children should be outdoors a minimum of 2 hours a day and am dreading the coming of winter where I believe it will be much harder to meet this goal that I’ve set. I’m hoping by then he’ll be walking with more stability and completely independently. That should make outings easier for both of us. At the daycare, I cannot wait until he’s in the toddler room; it is much more stimulating than the infant room. He is not ready for that just yet. The goal is to transition him in December.
I managed to read some amazing parenting books this summer. I read How to Raise a Wild Child, which offers not only evidence for the benefits of spending time in nature, but also provides practical advice on how to help your children connect with nature deeply. I have researched all the nature centers in this area, which are plentiful, and the programs they offer, and I cannot wait until he’s old enough to partake in the activities. In the meantime, he’ll enjoy hiking with my husband and I, weekends spent upstate outdoors all day, and trips to local parks, lakes, rivers, and conservatories, among other things.
I also read Simplicity Parenting. A book by a psychologist who makes strong arguments for simplifying children’s lives to help them thrive. It emphasizes the importance of boredom in creativity and connecting deeply to things, as well as the importance of rhythms and routines in your family life, which creates time for decompression and rejuvenation, and not only provides stability and predictability, but makes new things a treat when they differ from the norm.
Another great book was A Disease Called Childhood written by a family systems therapist who explains how ADHD should be viewed and treated holistically based on the underlying causes (parenting styles, consumption of food dyes, etc). She also shows how drug companies influenced our diagnosis and treatment of ADHD by going through its history, limiting it to genetic/chemical imbalances in order to promote the sale and prescription of drugs, which she points out is several times higher than any other country, and how the underlying social, environmental, and family factors are ignored.