This morning, I was eager to get the boys outside and go hiking to our ever-favourite Bushrangers Bay. It was incredibly humid and I wanted our four year old to earn his screen time. 21,000 steps later, I can safely say I think they earned an hour or two down time playing their Nintendo switch, but do they even remember to ask for their reward.
We got both the older boys step counters for Christmas. The eldest: a sports watch and the youngest a Vivofit Jnr. Such great presents that meet the boys fantasies of technology, yet we get them outside and aware of how many steps and how active they have been. Awareness in children is a great starting point.
My step son now twelve and has never been allowed a gaming console in our house beyond his iPad mini. Until now. He was getting to an age where he was threatening me with, ‘I’ll just buy one myself with my own money.’ Hang on kid your money is my money.
No, in all seriousness, he is computer mad and I honestly believe in both being active outdoors and being a digital native. Computers are the way of the world and not allowing children to develop the skills necessary in today’s world is only going to hold them back. It’s about balance.
So we half-heartily agreed to a Nintendo switch, but it wasn’t coming from us or the man in a red suit. Step Son had to request money as a gift towards this console (we knew he would fall a little bit short) and we actively encouraged him to ask his younger brother, our four year old to go halves with him. Now, the boys are encouraged to negotiate time. Well, we have a bargaining chip; chores or what mumma calls ‘adventures’, which is really just code for, ‘Okay, we are getting out and walking some place spectacular.’
So, off we set at 8:30am, just after breakfast. And what a spectacular time to go on a bush walk! It was early enough that the kangaroos and wallabies were feeding and we stopped and watched many. Dante was amazed to see them in their natural habit and observe a roo in mum’s pouch. ‘Just like how we carry Iggy in his carrier, Mum.’
Birds flying out of the bushes, rustling in the bushes… butterflies. -So many conversations to be had as we wandered together along the track. I am a firm believer of, if you don’t experience nature you can’t have a true gratitude for how amazing she is, and then later, have a care and empathy for our environment. I believe this gratitude and appreciation of Nature in the later life extends to people around us and can be applied in everyday life. I believe, children who have strong connections to the land and Mother Nature have an easier time socially, working out problems as they can apply empathy.
We are very grateful to have these wonders on our doorstep. Not everyone can drop what they’re doing and drive up the road when kids start to go bat-shit cabin crazy. It was a decent half an hour walk through scrub along a ridge until you get to the top of the steps down to the beach. It is there that you catch a glimpse through to Bushrangers Bay below. When you get to the beach, hop a small stream you’re onto the beach. If you head east (left) around the corner, there’s a scenic rocky outcrop as you follow at the bottom of the cliff. The boys were more busy building rock sculptures and running up the beach being chased by the crashing waves.
We forgot the time. The boy’s stomachs reminded them (before their sports watches) that it was already lunchtime and we had somewhere to be. On the way back, the steps were hard work for a young’un. Daddy ended up piggybacking our four year old to the top. By this time the path was busy and we were nodding ‘hello’ to people from around the world, usually with a local ‘guide’ saying, ‘Just up here a bit. You got to see this.’ Proud as punch as if they designed and commissioned the wonder themselves.
Once we were back to the car even the boys were proud of themselves. Our four year old tripled his ‘goal’ and our twelve year old walked more in an hour and a half than he had the whole of the previous week. Speaking of local guides, we called our impending guests from Melbourne that we were the ones running late. Which was rich, since they were on their way from Essendon. Sorry. You’ll thank us for not bringing wired antisocial kids. Instead we had three tired (ravenous) kids that were practically social as we’d been conveniently too rushed to pack ipads or a Nintendo switch. Nobody even asked. Game over. Technology 0, Parents 1 .
Dante & Iggy are both dressed in ‘Spell little gypsies’.