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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.

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Who needs toys when you have twigs and a keen imagination

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.

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Tilly discovering the sights around her in the woods

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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27 thoughts on “The countryside’s quiet secret for good child behaviour

  • 7 October 2016 at 8:37 pm
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    This is brilliant, I love watching mine play in the woods, every tree is interesting through his eyes!

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    • 12 October 2016 at 2:35 pm
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      It’s wonderful to see all of the things they take in and find special. Thanks for visiting

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  • 8 October 2016 at 7:25 am
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    Nothing like getting outside and appreciating the world around us to make anyone feel a bit better about things. Love your photos!
    #countrykids

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  • 8 October 2016 at 7:48 am
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    It works for the older ones too.. We’ve gone from sibling conflict to best buddies, after just two minutes walking in the woods. They really don’t need much to stimulate their interest and imagination. #CountryKids

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:07 am
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      I’ve certainly found that being in open spaces seems to help to clear and calm the senses. There’s nothing to get agitated about – no conflict over rides or toys – so they just get on and play

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  • 8 October 2016 at 9:06 am
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    I can remember well the frustrations that soft play can cause, my lot would usually come out grumpier than they went in! It’s fab that you’ve found the perfect place for Tilly to explore and let her imagination run free without causing aggravation. It’s amazing the transformation you can see as you enter the woods and the magical world of nature opens up it’s playground, it’s amazing how their imaginations run wild in places like this.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:11 am
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      Soft play can be very crowded and noisy and if not in the right frame of mind can just cause a bad mood. It’s those occasions when breaking out into nature where there’s nothing to fight over and the senses are calmed works so well for T

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  • 8 October 2016 at 1:41 pm
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    I definitely find getting out in the fresh air helps with my kids mood too. We are lucky where live that there are lots of open space to run, trees to play hide and seek behind and general nature to soak up and I definitely think it does the kids good. Xx

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:12 am
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      It’s certainly good to be near nature. I always find urban environments stifling after a while and living now within a short walk of the countryside is wonderful for clearing the head

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  • 8 October 2016 at 1:56 pm
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    We tend to have so much more fun when we are out and about than at soft play. We have a wonderful canal to explore within walking distance and a wonderful forest only a short drive away. It’s been a few weeks since we have been to the forest I am going to have to plan our next visit! #CountryKids

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:13 am
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      The transformation in behaviour was really noticeable. It’s not that way every time – sometimes soft play is just fine but on this occasion getting away from it all and into the quiet of nature was just what T needed. Thanks for visiting

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  • 8 October 2016 at 2:05 pm
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    My 3 are much happier together outside.They do become fractious when indoor and outdoor play always helps to blow the cobwebs away.Over from Country Kids.

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:15 am
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      It’s great that it works with siblings too. I think it removes things for them to squabble over and just allows them to get on and play. Thanks for popping by.

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  • 8 October 2016 at 7:43 pm
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    It’s amazing how a bit of time outdoors can lift the moods of even those in the most stubborn of moods! Thanks for joining in with #ThatFridayLinky

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:16 am
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      I was amazed by the transformation in behaviour so I’ll be keeping it in my arsenal of tactics when we’re next in a huge grump!

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  • 8 October 2016 at 9:00 pm
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    Great photos. I agree about the great outdoors helping with behaviour. There’s always so much to see and explore and no distractions from games consoles, TVs and mobile phones. My 9yo has challenging behaviour but always enjoys getting out in all weathers and rarely kicks off when he’s able to run about, climb trees and take in his surroundings.

    #countrykids

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:17 am
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      Nature certainly lends itself to photography as well as being the venue for relaxed fun. Glad to hear it has the same effect on your son too

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  • 9 October 2016 at 8:16 pm
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    I love going outdoors with the girls and especially to the woods near us always puts a smile on my face wonderful post and lovely photos Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:18 am
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      Thanks, Nige. We’re also fortunate to have countyside on our doorstep and I like to get T out into it when I can

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  • 11 October 2016 at 12:33 pm
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    Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing the photography details. I have a panasonic lumix and I am struggling with it!

    This sounds like a lovely day. I think that same us adults who finds solace in nature… kids find nature soothing too =)

    #countrykids

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:22 am
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      Hi Merlinda. I’ve found watching some YouTube tutorials to be a great way of learning – whether it’s the basics of photography or understanding your camera’s specific functions. I’ve found having fast lenses with apertures of 1.8 or 2.8 where you can play with depth of field has helped open up my creativity

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  • 11 October 2016 at 8:42 pm
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    Getting outside is a tonic for everyone isn’t it! I love nothing more than a long walk through the trees #countrykids

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:23 am
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      It’s easy to forget – especially as the weather gets colder – but a trip into nature works well and as the leaves change colour it’s an excuse for some more trips

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  • 12 October 2016 at 10:47 am
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    It’s amazing what a difference it can make just getting out and about and exploring nature. So glad that it helped ease Tilly’s frustration and that she was much happier as a result. #countrykids

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:26 am
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      Getting into nature certainly did the trick on this occasion. It was really enjoyable to have some carefree play, away from the crowds that cause annoyance

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  • 14 October 2016 at 12:09 pm
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    That’s lovely. It’s always a winner for kids being outdoors even for us as adults. Love photos too.
    #countrykids

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    • 15 October 2016 at 8:27 am
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      Thanks for your kind comments. Nature makes such a lovely setting for photography.

      Reply

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