Transforming a child’s behaviour can come from the least expected of places. When organised play isn’t working, try talking them away into nature. That’s just what we did with Tilly and it worked wonders.
We were having a full day of activities while ShireMum got on with some marking. Soft play was going okay but frustration was increasingly making itself known. Tilly was getting cross with other children, the food on offer and plenty else besides. It was time to cut our losses so I took us to a country pub on the way home that has a play garden where I hoped we’d get some food into her, aided by the distraction of the play houses.
Alas it wasn’t to be. Despite tailoring Tilly’s children’s meal to her picky tastes, general irritation and frustration with anything and everything kept mounting. As a highly sensitive child she does have a limited tolerance for busy and noisy environments, although judging whether this can be reached is often complicated with hunger and tiredness also being factors. We made it through our lunch with difficulty and with a final outburst it was time to depart.
Before we headed for home, though, we decided to make a stop at the woods round the corner from the pub. With well maintained paths and varied surroundings, it well suits exploration and getting away from it all. What we hadn’t counted on was the transformation that resulted in Tilly’s behaviour. Gone in a trice was the frustration and tantrums, replaced by a happy little girl all set to explore everything around her.
Tilly got stuck in, from spotting early autumn colours to discovering dens and using a gate for imaginative play. Despite there being nothing overtly available for children or play, it made for the most content and engaged part of the day.
I do love the countryside. It’s one of the reasons why we moved to the area we did as I find endless urban landscapes rather suffocating and yearn for the quiet and nature of the countryside. It seems that my daughter may have inherited some of those traits and I can see that exploring outdoor places in the future could make for lots of fun. That’s not to say it’s always easy to convince her to leave the house but when she’s feeling overwhelmed it’s certainly one of the activities that helps.
Of course there’s plenty to be said about the countryside in its own right. I’ve been noticing more and more that places which encourage imaginative play by providing an interesting, interactive setting really get Tilly engaged in play. Plus there’s so much that can be learned about nature when you simply look, such as the changing of the seasons, colours through flowers, growth with plants, identifying birds and the behaviour of animals, to name but a few.
Photography: Taken with a vintage Carl Zeiss Jena DDR f1.8 50mm lens (100mm equivalent on crop sensor) using an adaptor on my mirrorless Panasonic camera. Although using the lens means shooting fully manually, including the focus, the fast lens provides some nice bokeh – the blurry background from which the subject stands out in relief.
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