Fall is no doubt my favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather autumn brings, the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot, the smell of pumpkin pie. It’s the perfect season for getting in touch with your senses and teaching your kids to savor the moment.
October offers us a break between the end-of-summer, getting-ready-for-school insanity and the holidays-are-getting-closer craziness. It’s the ideal time to plan good, old-fashioned fun—like going for a hike in the woods or having a picnic. When you’re outside with your kids, talk to them about the sounds and smells that surround you. Dig under the leaves and look for bugs and watch them do their work. Listen for the birds in the trees. Feel the texture of nature. Compare the soft, fuzzy moss with the rough, sturdy lichen. Talk about what you see, feel, hear, and smell.
When you talk with your little ones, you are teaching them communication skills that will serve them throughout their lives. Using words to describe their surroundings helps them notice details and become more aware of the beauty of nature and the preciousness of the moment. Plus you are showing you are interested in your kids. What they say is true: your child doesn’t need gadgets and toys and doughnuts. Your child needs your undivided attention—sans cell phone.
The flavors of fall also awaken our senses—apples, pumpkin, beets, cranberries, sweet potatoes, squash, even Brussels sprouts. Start serving your children the flavors of the season when they are young. I always gave my kids a variety of foods when they were little, and today they have adventurous palates as a result.
If you have a picky eater, you might need to disguise your veggies by adding them to spaghetti sauce, for example. Just make sure you are feeding your kids healthy food. You are the boss when it comes to what your kids eat. It’s important to take the time to plan and feed your little ones meals that meet the needs of their growing bodies.
We’re busy, I know. But on weekends turn off the computer, plan the week’s meals, and do some batch-cooking. Let your kids help with the planning and the peeling and the chopping. Play some fun children’s music while you are in the kitchen. Your child will be thrilled to help—and you get to spend quality time together.
So don’t waste a moment of this beautiful time of year. Every day with your children is precious. Savor each moment and hug your kids like there’s no tomorrow.