Moments in Motherhood: Raising Rooted Children and the Importance of Free Play

The turn of autumn usually awakens me and I've had so many thoughts rattling around in my head about content for this blog; I didn't plan anything out when I started this on a whim but I wanted to take a moment to share something with you. I wanted to share how important I feel it is to let our children come to be deeply rooted.

Silas eating a [somewhat bad] carrot from the garden.

Silas eating a [somewhat bad] carrot from the garden.

To me, being deeply rooted isn't always about the permanence of homeownership or the house a child grows up in. In fact, being deeply rooted, to me, has nothing to do with how permanent a living situation is or is not. It's about being connected. Being connected to the earth and being in tune with our surroundings and Self.

I'm not going to play the self-righteous mamahood card and say that television is the devil and that technology is evil - Silas does get screen time and I do use my phone, and social media, obviously. But what I try to bestow unto him, more than anything, is the importance of learning by way of exploration - the importance of his surroundings, and in time, the way everything surrounding him is connected. We do live in a world where media reigns supreme and it's very hard to escape, but I think we must make huge efforts to do so for our children.

Growing up, I was always outside climbing trees, collecting ladybugs and fireflies, getting scraped up knees and keeping my feet rooted in the soil (when I wasn't climbing trees.) For the most part, I was a happy kid. My parents allowed me to explore and learn. They allowed me to view the world around me and formulate my own opinions. Not to say that they didn't teach me their values, but they let me be a child and think for myself; I couldn't thank them enough for this.

While Silas is yet maybe too young to be completely unattended in the wild, I find merit in unsupervised play and exploration when they're a little older. I subscribe to the notion that free play builds self-confidence and teaches them to use good judgement. Will they make some bad choices? Probably. Will they fall? Most likely, but hopefully not too hard. Will they learn from their mistakes and stumbles? I would definitely like to think so and I know so to some capacity on my own part.

Not the healthiest looking of carrots, but he tried it out, anyway!

Not the healthiest looking of carrots, but he tried it out, anyway!

So part of the free play and exploration and forming decisions is shown above. I saw Silas go after this carrot. Aside from thinking it was a really cute shot in his jumpsuit, I decided to watch it play out and let him try it. And try he did. He immediately got the funniest "icky nasty" look on his face, threw in on the ground, said "no", then ran away. This is a perfect example of the kind of learning I see so many people forgetting about. It's innately in us to know what is poisonous to us or to rely on our senses. We have them for a reason after all! I so often see parents running after their children trying to keep everything out of their mouths and discouraging this behavior but it's actually one of children's biggest learning mechanisms. Not to mention, their immune systems could use some germs from time to time!

Backyard Garden Play at Dusk

Backyard Garden Play at Dusk

One more thing I wanted to add about being deeply rooted, aside from free play and outdoor exploration, is the importance of teaching our children to be stewards of the planet. For now, we only have one and we ought to do all we can still do to help protect her. Elliott diligently teaches Silas that trash and litter is bad - and each day they go out exploring, they come back with trash they've picked up from the parks and they either recycle it or throw it in the garbage. This is so, so important! Please, let's teach our children to be better to the earth!

Also, let's keep them outside and exploring for as long as we can!

What do you see, my love?

What do you see, my love?

If you're interested in Silas's jumpsuit, head on over to Conscious Kids Clothing and check them out! I feel so good buying eco-friendly clothing in small batch for our family when we can.

#getoutstayout loves!

XoXo

Ashley