Raising Your Kids To Love the Outdoors
The new age is here and the technology is quickly taking over our lives. How can you pry that bright little screen from your child's hands and get them to enjoy the wonderful world outside? Raising your kids to love the outdoors can seem like an impossible task in today's society.
Adults and children alike have an obsession with cell phones, tablets, televisions, computers, and video games. There are a few tips and tricks to breaking the tech addiction and getting you and your children to the great outdoors.
Check the Mirror
Children are very much like sponges. They emulate their parents, peers, and anyone else in close proximity. If you're checking your phone every fifteen minutes and relaxing in front of the TV all day you can expect your children to do the same.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
The best way to get your kids outside is to get yourself outside! This doesn't mean you have to pack up the car and set out on a 5 mile trek that's uphill both ways. Believe it or not the backyard is still considered outside and the kids won't mind.
Starting kids with a lot of time in the yard and a few leisurely strolls through the park can help you build up to more intense outdoor adventures if you're feeling brave. Be prepared to engage and explore.
If you're a free range parent be prepared to watch your kids run off to explore themselves.
Gradually Work Your Way Up
Take a moment to consider your current habits and routines. Are your children exposed to the outdoors on a regular basis? If you find that most of your time is spent indoors don't expect these habits to change overnight.
Start small and set a goal to spend an hour a day outside. Breaking the time into one 30 minute session in the morning and one in the afternoon is an easy way to reach this goal. From there stretch the sessions to 45 minutes and so on.
Adding a trip to the playground or the park after your kids are used to spending a decent amount of time outside is a great way to get them outdoors and switch up your day to day routine.
If you're interested in getting your children to go on more intense outdoor adventures with you apply the same principle. Start with shorter hikes and frequent breaks so your child can build up their endurance.
Gradually work your way toward more difficult trails. When you're dealing with toddlers you may want to invest in an off-road stroller in the event they're too tired to keep up. Taking your kids hiking will help them disconnect and really enjoy the outdoors. Not to mention it's a great way to bond!
Consider the Benefits
There continues to be more and more research linking outdoor exposure and more natural environments to increased mental health. Not to mention the physical benefits of an active lifestyle.
Spending more time outdoors inevitably leads to more physical activity.
This review looked at the results of various studies and found that performing physical activity outdoors increases ones sense of wellbeing.
They also found that by performing physical activity in an outdoor setting people reported a more positive association with exercise in general. Exposing children to the outdoors can set them up for an active lifestyle and promote physical and mental health.
A better sleep routine may be another bonus of increasing your kid's time outdoors. This review looked at studies of screen time and sleep patterns in children. They found that in 90% of studies an increase in screen time such as TV, video games, or cell phones decreased the quality of sleep.
So, if you're struggling with bed time for your kids turning off the TV and getting them outside might just be the solution.
Get Out There
The simple truth is that the best way to get your kids outside is to get yourself outside. Engage your children in outdoor activities and explore with them to make it fun for everyone.
A love for the great outdoors will be instilled in them if you just give it a chance. Even if you aren't the outdoorsy type yourself small changes can have a positive impact on you and your children.