Michael has been so excited about the nicer weather that has recently been coming our way. He has loved that he can play outside again after school and go to parks with me. He will carefully select his park close to home (we are lucky to live so close to many) and ask if we can go either by car or foot if he listens and does his homework on time. So far this week it has worked out beautifully. And I for my part enjoy taking him to the park and watching him go on all the equipment independently, other than needing me to give him a push or two on the swings. He will sometimes also ask me to go on the seesaw with him and we will chat like yesterday about all kinds of different things, school, upcoming events, what he used to do and where he used to go as a baby. It is fun. It reminds me of how much fun I used to have at parks as a child when my parents took me and I later went with friends. It also feels good being outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
Michael has been expressing his anxiety so much clearer these days. He had a few breakthrough moments when he told me how he has pain in his stomach when he is nervous, how he acts silly and misbehaves when he is worried about something, and what he needs as far as strategies are concerned to calm down, either to walk, do deep breathing or a social story. I know being outdoors and moving has also been really beneficial for his stress level and for handling things in general. I am grateful that recognition of how to handle his anxiety is coinciding with nice weather to play outside. The two together will certainly be helping Michael navigate more complex emotions. They definitively help me remember how closely tied up my emotions are to the freedom of moving around more in the spring and summer and how I can develop strategies to get around that when I don’t have the option of nice weather.
Exceptional Parents, do you see a difference in your children in the Spring when they can play outside more? Do you see them, as they get older, learning new stress management techniques? Just remember, model good stress handling yourself. Show them the benefits of being outdoors and be a kid again yourself playing in parks, going for bike rides, whatever you think will help your Exceptional Children achieve the next level of maturity and growth. Until next time.