Want your kids to get along? Take a hike.
A recent study found that exposure to natural as opposed to artificial environments leads people to value close relationships and community and be more generous. The researchers conclude that people are nicer when they are around nature.
The other day the kids and I took a hike along lower Chester Creek. As is often the case when we are outside together, Daley was very caring towards his little sister.
When she complained that her legs were tired, he offered to give her a piggy back ride.
When she couldn’t reach the thimbleberries, he picked as many as she wanted.
When she wanted to climb along a log in the rushing water, he held her hand to steady her.
These goodwill feelings carried over into the rest of their day as they played together back home. There were no squabbles over toys. I didn’t hear, “Mom, Finley just….” or “Mom, Daley just…”
There was sibling harmony in the household.
At least for a while.
Have you noticed the social benefits of being outside as a family? Share your experiences in the comments box below. Thanks!
Reference: Weinstein, N., Przybylski, A. K., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). “Can nature make us more caring? Effects of immersion in nature on intrinsic aspirations and generosity.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1315-1329.