When my kids were younger we spent a lot of time outside, but we also spent a lot of time finding ways to bring nature into our daily family life.
We would look out the car window when we were driving into town, spotting nature along the way.
We would take a few moments to stop by the creek on our way back from the grocery store.
We would make a moment to drive to the best sunset spot if we knew the clouds were telling us it was going to be a good one.
All of these little things became a part of our family culture. They became habits for us.
Habits are created whether we put intention into them or not. Our day is run by our habits.
Stop to think about some of your habits.
Do you brush your teeth before bed? Do you automatically walk into the kitchen to make coffee or put on the tea water in the morning? Do you pick up your phone each time you hear a ding, or even when you don’t?
I am sure you can think of many more habits that make up your day. We have to have them or our minds would be overwhelmed with thinking of all the possible things we need to do next. Thank goodness for habits!
With that said, “bad” habits can creep into our days and before we know it we are living a life we had not intended, or certain aspects of life are not looking like we envisioned they would.
So, one of the best ways to go about setting ourselves and our families up to create the habits we want is to set the intentions for what we want.
This applies to every aspect of family life, including the time we would like our family to feel a connection to our natural world.
The intention has to be set and a plan has to be made for a new (intentional) habit to formed.
One of the best ways to create a new habit is to attach the thing you want to do to something that is already a habit. In the book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg calls this a keystone habit. That habit that is already set in stone. That thing you already do each day without thinking about it. Find one of those, attach a new behaviour to it, add in a reward of some sort of positive feedback (happy kids and fresh air), and boom… you are on your way to developing a new habit.
Now, I encourage you to take an assessment of your intentions around nature connection and the desires you have for your family.
Are you and yours getting enough time in the day to connect with nature–something we all need to live healthy, well balanced lives?
Next, look for one or two of those keystone habits you already have in place.
Looking at daily habits: Do you have morning basket story time each morning after breakfast? Is there quite time after lunch each day? Do you all clean up the kitchen after dinner?
For the weekly routines: Do you go to music lessons each Wednesday afternoon? Is there a gathering you attend each Friday? Do you grocery shop every Thursday morning?
Pick a few of those solid items in your day or week and see how you can fit some nature connection into those times.It might mean looking out the window after story time to talk about the weather. It could be going for a short walk after quite time to get the muscles moving and fresh air in the lungs before moving on to the afternoon activities. Maybe there is a creek down the road from music lessons and it becomes a new routine (habit) to stop by and check how things have changed from last week. (Tip: always keep a change of clothes-including socks- in the car for each kiddo, this becomes especially important when water is involved.)
Once you start looking, the possibilities will open up and you will be amazed by the nearby nature opportunities.
Go ahead and give it a try.
What are your intentions around nature connection for your family?
What keystone habits can help you bring more nature into your daily family life?
Pop into the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook group and let me know what you come up with, or share in the comments here.
If you are interested in learning more about our family nature habits you can watch my TEDx talk here.
If you are feeling suck, reach out. I would love to help!
P.S. There is only one more day to Bring a Friend for Free when you sign up for the Everyday Nature for Families online workshop.
I would LOVE to have you and your friend join us!
CLICK HERE to learn more and sign up.