Making Autumn awesome with kids in nature – Is there any such thing as quality time?

Making Autumn awesome with kids in nature – Is there any such thing as quality time?

This article was put together by our Early Learning Coordinator Tracey Mayhew who is an experienced early childhood educator as well as a mum to a busy four year old son. We love Tracey’s refreshing perspectives on parenting, education in the early years and life as a whole.

forest-386751_960_720The first of March has arrived and it is the perfect time to allow yourself a little time and space with your children, family and friends to wind down and get outdoors to enjoy Autumn on the Gold Coast. You’ve made it through Christmas and life is starting to returning to a normal rhythm after new year celebrations, children returning to school and kindy after a long break and family heading back home after the holidays. I love Autumn, and living in the Gold Coast hinterland we can clearly see this seasonal shift in all its glamour and beauty while still enjoying the sunshine and beaches in this beautiful part of the world.

So how can we make the most of all this? Is there really any such thing as quality time? Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how quickly our time goes, our children are racing ahead quicker than we can keep up with, work seems to rob us of valuable time we could be spending with our children and catching up with family and friends can seem tricky when all we really want to do is put the house back together and lay on the beach in blissful solitude.

The most important thing we could ever hope for is an abundance of quality time with the people we love. Yet how many of us actually have any time to spare? I recently read an article about the statistical facts and figures of how often we say the word no. We hear our children repetitively asking… “Can we go to the park?” “Can we get the paints out now?” “Can we go to the beach?” And how often do we say “YES”? Of course, for so many of us the answer is most often “tomorrow” or “later”.

So I’ve set myself a challenge, to simply start saying “yes”. And it definitely is a challenge! They say that it takes 28 days to create new habits, yet I have found in only 10 days some amazing things have already happened. My thinking has shifted from non-stop planning weeks or months in advance to loosely planning just a few days ahead with the focus being on today. For children this opens up a whole new reality and I am noticing the changes with my child already.

nature_play_-_puddleDid you know that for children, a loss or lack of spontaneity in their lives frequently leads to challenging behaviour? I have been amazed at how much my son’s behaviour has shifted already just because I have allowed myself to start to say “yes”. Even better, it has opened both of our minds to the possibilities of more and more fun things we can do together, and for us getting outside is definitely a favorite.

Being outdoors has the power to both teach and heal us in so many ways so why not embrace your new found opportunities with your children by seeking out some outdoor quality time with your kids in nature? You will all be better off for the experience. So here are my top 5 places to enjoy the time your quality time with children on the Gold Coast this Autumn.

  1. Check out your own back yard: Get out there and build a tee pee out of sticks or camp out together in a tent for a night. No electronic devices allowed.
  2. Go to the beach: Enjoy a picnics with friends and family (breakfast, lunch or dinner) , or just build sand castles, walk the dog or fly a kite.
  3. Animal adventures: Take the children to meet the pelicans at the shore front at Labrador, watch dolphins at The Spit or spot pademelons in Springbrook.
  4. A night time adventure with torches: Get outside and gaze at the stars and moon or why not make the trip out to Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park for the children to witness the wonder of the glow worms.
  5. Markets everywhere: Night markets offer lots of experiences for the whole family. Check out the Mudgeeraba sunset markets, the Surfers Paradise beachfront markets, the Miami Marketta or the new NightQuarter at Helensvale.

We truly hope you enjoy your adventures. Why not share some of what you and your family have experienced with us on our Natura Education Facebook page, we would love to hear your ideas too!



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