A few days back I got a call from my cousin sister that she was coming over to our place. As per the plan, they arrived at our place. Her daughter was super excited to see me. She literally loves her ‘Mimi’ (Aunty) i.e., Me. J But the weather was just oppressively hot that day. So we decided to spend time at home only. The positive thing is that in spite of being in a city, we have a lot of space in our courtyard. So we didn’t have to confine inside the room for the whole day. I and my sister met after a long time, so our conversation was going on and on. I noticed that my four years old niece was playing with her mother’s Smartphone for a long time. I was eager to know what she is doing with the Smartphone for long! I asked my sister what her girl knows about Smartphone. ‘She can play with this for the whole day’-She smiled and replied. I was surprised to see that she is happy that her child is staying inside and playing with the gadgets allowing her to concentrate less on her.
If I had not worked in the field of mental health, I would have thought that too. I insisted both of them to go outside and play in the courtyard. But the little one was unwilling to play in the mud. My sister narrated- “Let her play in the varanda rather than the mud. It’s dirty’.
Sometimes parents’ fear also keeps kids away from nature (fear of dirt or germs, fear of insects etc). We blame our kids for playing a long time with electronic gadgets. But what other option we are providing them?
Early exposure to microbes present in the soil can help kids become stronger and disease-resistant.
I tried to convince her. After a long conversation and rapid crossfire of words, she allowed her child to play in the mud. Now it was time to convince my little niece. A strong feeling of fear about dirt was working on her mind. So I failed to convince her. The next day I planned to play a game in front of her that we used to play in our childhood, i.e., ‘Kumir-danga’. This game needs to be played on an uneven surface. One player has to act as ‘Kumir’ (Crocodile) and the rest need to stand on high ground or ‘Danga’. The person acting as Kumir had to catch another player when he/she came down from the high surface. Whoever was caught has to swap place with the crocodile. So this is really a fun game. Other players keep prompting the crocodile that he is unable to catch them.
I, my sister and two kids of my neighbour started playing the game. We showed how much fun it is to play outdoor games. ‘Ridhi’-my niece, suddenly came to the courtyard and asked me to take her in the game. ‘But it is dirty outside and you don’t like mud right?’-I replied. She started crying and repeatedly requested us to involve her in our game. So that’s how my little niece got in touch with nature for the first time. I showed her how to make pots with mud. Obviously, she won’t get the opportunity to do this in her flat but at least her fear of dirt has gone. The child, who was not willing to touch mud, is now playing with it. I was so happy seeing that. Believe me, no Smartphone, iPad, laptop or video games could bring that smile on her face that we encountered that day. My cousin sister now allows her child to play in the mud without hesitation. There is a Park near their Flat. She tries to visit the park with Ridhi whenever possible.
Do your children also spend much time indoor? Are they too busy playing with electronic gadgets and reluctant to talk or play with others?
Try to make them curious about nature. Motivate them to play outside.
Visit Eco-friendly Parks where you can breathe in fresh air rather than visiting Malls. Plants play a vital role in the purification of air. So if you are a city-dweller, living in an Apartment, you should try to grow a few plants wherever there is space. Let your child get some fresh air. Don’t hesitate to allow your child to play in the mud.
This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta
*Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.