I was talking to my Mom the other night, filling her in on Baby A’s (the charge I nanny for, a 7 month old precious girl) most recent developmental milestones. I was also asking her questions about Baby A’s recent fussiness. While we both agreed that sometimes babies just cry and/or are fussy, I wanted to brainstorm with her some ideas of different activities I could do with Baby A during this fussy period.
My Mom said, “Leslie, when you were that age, you just loved to be outdoors. We would walk you around showing you different things-like flowers, the sky, our mailbox-anything. You were interested in it all-and we knew just where to take you when you were upset. The fresh air never seemed to fail.”
I take Baby A on a walk every single day, sometimes up to 3 miles per outing. She loves being outside, much like I did at her age. But when her fussiness started, I had to think of something a little more interactive than just pushing her in the stroller. So, I decided to start taking her on “Nature Walks,” like the ones my parents took me on many times.
I would park the stroller right up the street from her house, take her out, and hold her while showing her different things. I would say “This is a tree, Baby A. It is very tall and strong. We get our oxygen from trees, and also paper products. It’s very important we’re kind to trees because they are kind to us.” Then I would walk down the way a bit and show her a stream that’s just nearby. I’d say “this is a stream, Baby A. It flows and flows, never stopping unless there is a lack of rainfall. There are rocks at the bottom, and different types of life that live in the water. We get our drinking water from sources like this.”
You would think I was showing something magical to her-she was interested and intrigued with everything we looked at, wanted to touch everything, and truly listened to what I was saying. I even gathered a few of her favorite things from the walk (a flower, a rock, and a piece of bark,) and taped them to a piece of cardboard to give to her parents labeled “Our nature walk today.”
Not only did Baby A thoroughly enjoy this time, but she wasn’t fussy for the duration of it.
She has since grown out of that fussy stage, but we still take “Nature Walks” at least three times a week. I think it’s good for her and me. It keeps me grounded and reminds me how precious the “small things” in life really are.
If you’re in need of a new activity for your charges or your children, try taking a “Nature Walk” the next time the weather is nice. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll find-especially the things that aren’t tangible.