Being outdoors is good for all of us, children and adults alike. It has especially been proven to be good for Exceptional Children and their families, where the stress levels of life are even higher. It is difficult for some of our more sensory kids to get outside and play due to car, people and other noises of nature, but if possible, try. Parks are a wonderful place to go for all families and for helping our kids with socializing. Play dates at parks in the summertime work even better, but what I find has been most calming and soothing for Michael and I, has been time spent in our backyard. It is very woodsy with lots of trees, squirrels, and other critters running about. Walks in the woods are also great. This is something I only tried last year with Michael and some friends, and he loved it! We went with his father too and it went well. Now, he is asking to go all the time! We did a short walk last week when we were on vacation as a family, and I and his father promised him more this summer. The calm and quiet, the smells, and the sense of peace in the forest, all seem to have as calming an effect on Michael as do the sensory massages I have given him. And it helps me stay calm and grounded as well.
As usual, Michael has reminded me what I need to get back to, being calm, being present, and being in the moment in my life, in all areas of my life. When I sit outside in my yard, walk in the woods, walk on a beautiful nature path near our house, or even sip my coffee on our porch waiting for the school bus, I am reminded of my place in the universe. It is not all about me. I am one part of a bigger whole. All living things exist together to support one another, and are all connected somehow, yet not one is more important than the other. I often think this is probably what people reflect on when they are camping and looking at the stars at night. I look forward to trying that too. Once again, being Michael’s parent has taught me to come back to myself, and what I can learn about being more present, more in tune with myself and the universe.
Exceptional Moms, how do you feel about being outdoors? How do your Exceptional Children feel about it? Do you notice a difference in both your stress levels when you have spent time outside? Do you connect better as a family? Do you connect better to yourself? I encourage you to try to spend as much time outside as possible this summer whenever you can, and if you are already doing that with your child, make sure you have some alone time in nature as well. You’ll see how you will focus better, be more alert, and live your life more centered. That’s when true growth will happen. Until next time.