Connecting children to nature
We catch up with dad and filmmaker David Bond whose documentary exploring ways to get British children to reconnect with nature is out later this month
David Bond, 40, believes children in the UK have never been more disconnected from the natural world, and in a new documentary due out in UK cinemas from 25 October, he explores what that means and sets out to change it.
David lives in London with wife Katie and mum Helen and has two children – Ivy, 5, and Albie, 3. Like so many British youngsters, they prefer to spend their time indoors, usually in front of a screen.
So in the film, David sets himself up as Marketing Director for Nature and gives himself two months to ‘sell’ the natural world to British children, calling on the help of bemused professionals to help him compete with the big brands.
Although Ivy and Albie are initially resistant, we asked whether it was easier to change their habits than, say, that of a teenager? “I hate the idea of giving up on teens because they’ve got so much energy and so much to offer,” David told Candis. “They’re also reaching the stage where they can start to enjoy the bits of the outdoors that little kids don’t – the majesty of views suddenly become interesting at that age.”
But trying to convince teens to leave their tech at home might be an uphill struggle. “It’s important to allow them some breathing space, but that doesn’t mean banning phones – because there’s just no way that’s ever going to work!
“But what I learnt from making the film is that parents have got to be a bit of a role model. It’s very easy to project the image of the hard-working busy parent, always on the phone, on the computer. But once a week try having an hour without technology and show your children you’re able to let all of that go and have calm time. I believe that’s when you become Marketing Director for Nature in your own home,” says David.
“And I believe it’s better for this to be a tiny, regular thing than some big event. So even if it’s once a day, when you walk the dog, don’t take your phone. And if the kids walk the dog, don’t let them take their phone.
“Or perhaps get them to walk to school once a week, or park the car further away and walk to school with them for that last stretch. And this is a wonderful time of year to do that because everything’s changing – the leaves are colouring, the spider webs are covered in dew and there’s lots of interesting wildlife around.”
David adds, “If you believe in the power of a bit of breathing space, a bit of outdoors and some connection with nature, then it’s really our job, our duty, to sell that to our children.”