When my sons were younger—they are 16 and almost 13 now—September would mark the end of summer days spent at the swimming pool or playing at the park. Maybe taking an escape to a beach for a week. Now that they are older and busier, summer and fall family time looks a bit different.
In my job as a news writer for ACES, I get to talk to researchers about a huge variety of interesting research topics. One story I worked on this summer actually hit close to home for me. Researchers in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies are looking at the effect that spending time in nature together as a family has on how well families function. Research has shown that getting out in nature by yourself can restore your attention, so maybe spending time together outside with your family on a regular basis can help everyone get along better? Communicate better? Listen better?
So I focused on spending good time outside with my sons this summer. It’s amazing how much a teenager will talk to you as you walk side by side with him! Some of the walks in the park were, I confess, Pokemon Go sessions, but we were together, spending time outside.
And it doesn’t have to end in the fall. We already have some weekend hikes planned. Whether you’re a high school or college student, or the parent of one, getting out in nature together is a great way to stay connected to each other.
Read more about families and nature in the latest edition of ACES@Illinois.