Living outdoors with kids: Finding balance in everyday life
I like balance as a mom. I don't know about you but I believe balance is needed in our everyday life. With that being said, I want my children to have a flexible lifestyle.
Growing up for me was completely different than how it is now. To be honest with you, we were mostly outdoors. In fact, we lived outdoors! No pun intended. There was not much to do indoors except occasionally watching one kids program at a set time of the day when I was the same age as my kids.
Fast-forward to today, I can see the trend in screen-time becoming more of the norm and outdoor play becoming less. I want to now be able to provide a balance for my kids as I was exposed to at a young age.
This I hope will help them to realize that there is more to just computers and television. So here are a few tips on getting your child use to outdoor being a part of their normal routine.
How was your childhood experience growing up and living outdoors? Let me know. Please feel free to ask your questions or concerns in our FORUM section. I will be happy to help you!
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“Outdoor play gives our children balance and freedom to explore other areas of non screen-time activities."
MAKE BEING OUTDOOR A PRIORITY FOR THEM
Our kids learn what they see from us. We mold them as they see what we do and copy that. In order for them to grow to love something, we have to be advocates for it as well.
So making outdoor play a priority from a younger age can somehow help them a lot to transition easily from different activities, especially when screen time is more common in kids nowadays.
I suggest starting outdoor activities depending on your neighborhood or location to a daily routine as they grow. The more they do that, the more that they are able to transition well, and get use to being outside more often.
MAKE BEING OUTDOOR FUN AND EXCITING
I use to always tell my kids whenever they say that they are "bored", that they should look outside at the trees and go find one to play with.
Outdoors can be fun for them by having activities that are engaging. For example, you can create treasure hunt games, hide and seek, painting on the sidewalk, and so many other things that are not only fun but engaging.
Here is a FREE copy of a treasure hunt game that you can do outside with your family. Pick some items that are found outdoors and then have your child search for them. This can be done in your backyard, at a park, around the neighborhood, at the beach, etc.
TRY TO MINIMIZE SCREEN TIME
Screen time can be a "productivity zapper", in little ones. Do you see how highly engaged they are when they watch television or computer? It can even become difficult trying to get them off when time is up.
I recommend limiting screen time as much as possible to be able to have them get more comfortable with being outdoors and exploring in more creative ways.
OUTDOOR HELP WITH STRESS AND ANXIETY
Have you ever gone on a walk, or just casually stroll around your neighborhood, and when you get back, you feel so energized? There is a reason.
Nature actually has a way of "calming" us down and bringing us more into a calm state. This is also true for kids. It helps them to manage stress and fatigue better.
Whenever my boys go outside, I can see much difference in their day-to-day activities. They are more focused and ready for anything else that we have to do for the day.
Try it and decide for yourself what the difference may be!
OUTDOORS SPARKS CREATIVITY
Creativity isn't birth only in front of a computer. Nature also helps us to be creative in more ways than one. When kids are exposed to nature, it feeds their need for more interaction with what's around them.
They get to explore so many different things in nature that can help them to develop a more well-rounded view of life and things outside of their immediate environment.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITY CAN BE ANYTHING
Outdoor activity is not only for your neighborhood or backyard. Outdoor activity has no limits. It can also be at a zoo, aquarium, the beach, walking trails, etc. It's not limited and can be done at any time.
The goal is to get outside of your home or environment and to explore more ways of having creative play with your children.
It also helps us to bond with them in a less distracting environment, especially at home where everyone tends to do their own activities of choice.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITY IS GOOD FOR EXERCISE
As much as we complain about our health as adults, whether we are "too fat" or "too skinny" or somewhere in "between", we also have to be aware of our children's exercise abilities as well.
I am not in any way implying that they should be exercising as we do! However, I am saying that teaching them these simple steps early can actually develop healthy lifestyles later on. Can you see how it correlates?
The more we teach our children to be aware of our diet and lifestyle choices, the better they will be later on and not have to worry much about weight issues. It's a fair trade-off don't you think?
OUTDOOR ACTIVITY REMOVES FATIGUE IN KIDS
The number one reason for fatigue and also fatigue in kids is lack of activity. Being outdoors forces them to engage in more playful and enjoyable activities. It helps a lot with building emotional stability, especially from a younger age.
I am no expert on this topic, however, I do notice that with my two boys, age 5 and 6, they are more likely to fuss or fight with each other when they are fatigued. However, as soon as you switch up routine to outdoor play or activity they are surprisingly more cooperative with each other and highly engaging.
It's fatigue especially indoors that causes children to develop certain behaviors that we oftentimes hate to admit, we don't like them at all. If I can skip those tantrums especially at night time I would!
My advice for this is to try and do some activity with your children in the evening time before dinner or bedtime that can de be done quickly. This includes quick walks around the neighborhood, or if you do have a backyard, have them play for a bit. It will also help with the next topic below.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITY HELPS WITH SLEEP
This is something that most parents may not be aware of but outdoor activity prior to bedtime actually helps your child to sleep better and longer.
Comparing this to screentime activity is a tremendous difference. They actually sleep uninterrupted for longer periods of time because exercise helps them to de-stress right before bed, which puts them in a better state of mind and well-being.
Try this for yourself and observe the difference between screen-time and the nighttime awakenings compared to the less-screen time and outdoor activity right before bedtime.
Overall, I do hope that you would take these tips and give them a try. I would love to know what your feedback is. Let me know!
For more helpful information about activities to do with kids, check out my blog post below:
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