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Challenge: Parenting Resolutions

TAKE THE KIDS INTO NATURE: A PEDIATRICIAN'S PRESCRIPTION

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My parenting resolution for the New Year is to take my two girls into nature - as advised and prescribed by my best friend, pediatrician Dr. Nooshin Razani.

Dr. Nooshin Razani is a mother, wife, daughter, dancer, artist and physician. Her professional path was paved after educational training at Harvard, Berkeley and UCSF — but her grand purpose in life has been cemented since childhood. As the oldest sister of four brothers, Nooshin has always been a proactive advocate for children — and always connected to and appreciative of nature: our trees, our waters, our dirt, our sun. She’s been my best friend since we starred* in the Sound of Music together at the Buckley School. (*were in chorus)

Today – Nooshin coalesces her commitment to our earth with her commitment to the people. She heals our children as a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (CHO) — and in so doing, educates and prescribes to her patients (and anyone who will listen) of the healing properties of nature. She speaks publicly these days on how nature not only conquers obvious but less tangible things like lowering stress levels and slowing the human pace — but she advises us of the necessity of insinuating ourselves back into nature for measurable purposes such as lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and depression — and all the physical and mental diseases that may inevitably follow.

Nooshin and daughter, Darya (“sea” in Farsi) teach us how to take our kids into nature in 16 simple steps.


  1. Don’t stress.

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    2. Leave your phone at home and bring your memory. No photos, no judgement today.

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    3. Let them out of the car.

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    4. When they ask to play with your phone, say you don’t have it. If you do have it, say it’s out of batteries. When they complain, give them a sympathetic hug – but don’t go home.

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    5. Wait.

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    6. Be Quiet.

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    7. Listen.

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8. Follow their lead.

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9. Let them explore.

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10. Respond to them if they need you, if you are excited about something, or if there is a real emergency. Holding a stick or rock is not an emergency.

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11. Try, if you can allow yourself, to have fun.

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12. Bring an elder with you.

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13. Ask your elder to teach you the games they played in nature.

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14. Don’t bother your child with directions or judgement.

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15. Eat Together

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16. Go home.

Memories are from our beautiful local, regional, state, and national parks.

Memories are from our beautiful local, regional, state, and national parks.


Prescription written by and photos provided by Dr. Nooshin Razani and Darya Morshed

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