Tips for tuning into the natural world

People who connect with nature are happier, and children who connect with nature are more prosocial and better-behaved. How can we help our families feel a greater sense of connectedness?  You already know that kids benefit when they play outdoors. They also reap special benefits when they spend time in nature. We all do. And research suggests it isn’t just a matter of spending time — of being there, being physically present. Kids who feel an emotional, psychological connection with nature tend to have fewer behavior problems. They are more “prosocial” — more likely to show sympathy for others, more likely to offer a helping hand. And, like adults, children who connect with nature tend to feel a greater sense of happiness and well-being. But here, let’s focus on the practicalities. What can we do to help our families feel a greater sense of connectedness to nature? How to connect with nature: 12 tips
1. Got a young child? Start now. The evidence is pretty consistent. Adults who feel strongly connected with nature are more likely to have experienced lots of contact with nature as children.
2. Don’t wait around for the perfect trip to the Great Outdoors. Find opportunities for everyday nature encounters, however humble. If you live in the city — or lack access to a private backyard or garden — you might feel that “visiting nature” means traveling to a major attraction.
3. Help your family tune into nature with interactive, goal-based activities — like bird feeding, bird watching, keeping a nature journal, or going on a “bug safari.”
4. Teach kids how to be considerate and respectful of nature.
5. Communicate nature experiences — through writing, photography, and other arts.
6. Learn how to identify the local wildlife.
7. Learn how to protect local wildlife.
8. Participate in citizen science!
9. Weird weather? Seize the opportunities to learn about meteorology.