By Russell Gienapp
Much attention has been given to the iron handed tiger mom pushing their children to perfection, but now the mainstream media is noticing the existence of another mother personified by a meaner predator of the world; the polar bear mom. These arctic monster moms of the north expose their children (even babies) to science, math and art outside... even in the winter.
Polar bear moms’ kids learn and play in conditions so harsh the very molecular activity of water is slowed. Forming what scientists call ice and snow.
Recent news about the academic prowess kids of old-school tiger moms exhibit is actually old news. Polar bear moms of Nordic countries have secretly and quietly outdoor played their children into excellence. Finland matches and by some measurements surpasses China's test scores. While Norway, a country of 4.5 million people is still one of the countries to beat in the Winter Olympics. It is enough to make any red-blooded hockey mom cry with envy.
Polar Bear Moms rules
My daughter first defied her mother when at 3 years old she didn't want to put on her snowsuit. Rule number one of the polar bear mom is that children go outside dressed for the weather.
They are not allowed to complain about being properly dressed, so the suit went on and my daughter went outside. I did my best to console her as we played together for hours making snow angels and tobogganing in the park.
Before my children were able to walk they were forced to go into nature. Babies sleeping in prams outside (even in the winter), two year olds walking on slippery ice and don't get me started on the trees they climb or how dirty polar bear moms let their kids get.
4. Master the art of getting dirty
My daughter came inside once with dirty hands from playing in the garden for 30 minutes. My wife immediately sent her back outside for two more hours until she was dirty from head to toe. Polar bear moms know the first 30 minutes of playing in the dirt is easy, but it takes uncounted hours to master the art of getting dirty.
5. Polar bear moms insist on fresh air, sunlight and play
Every day the kids are exposed to fresh air, sunlight, play and physical activities. Nature has designed these activities to develop creativity, gross & fine motor skills, social development and discipline with a general understanding about the world where they live. Polar bear moms want their kids to climb trees, ski, water play, make channels and puddles jump in the rain, pick dandelions and roll down hills.
6. Science, language and art is taught at the preschool level
Polar bear moms really push the introduction of natural and social sciences and physical education at an early age. Learning about animals and plants, picking berries, animal tracks, what happens when we freeze water, (I am just scratching the surface and I just realized that they also sneak in physics.)
7. Kids have to go and play on their own.
And, as if all that pressure wasn't enough, polar bear moms make children play outside with no agenda. A child of the polar bear mom can never say they don't want to go outside and play.
8. Never complain about having to much fun
And they certainly would never be allowed to complain about going outside and playing games and explore without adult interference. Sure it looks like a bunch of silly fun, but a polar bear mom sees only the social, physical and cognitive benefits.