All parents today face the same struggle: entertainment and activities for kids are all happening indoors, and the youth today is spending less and less time outside, which can have detrimental consequences. They have less vitamin D, their muscles and bones aren’t developing properly because they aren’t moving enough and they have weaker immune systems, as they aren’t exposed to the outside world. This isn’t to put blame on any of the indoor activities – many of them, from video games to books have great benefits, but they mustn’t, in any way, take over the time allotted for being outside.
But instead of kicking them into the garden and locking the door, how can you motivate kids to spend more time outdoors?
Explore with them
Habits are formed from a very early age, and kids learn most of their habits from their parents. While they are young, and as they are growing up, encourage them to go outside and spend time exploring nature. Look for bugs and then look them up in books, make flower bouquets and wreaths or just play around in the fresh air. Get into gardening and make them their own little garden where they will plant whatever they like and take care of it. It means a lot to children when they can see the fruits of their labor grow and reward them.
Visit public outdoor spaces
Going to the town doesn’t have to mean going to a mall – it could be going to a park. You can set up playdates in the park for your kids, or simply go, enjoy and explore with them. Most parks have some sort of playground for kids that you don’t have in your own backyard, and that will be motivation for them to go and play. If you get your kids hooked on hiking and camping while they are young, you will never have a problem getting them to play outside and spend time in nature. When taking family holidays, make sure that you allot at least half of the vacation to outdoor activities, whether it’s going to the beach, exploring a national park or a garden.
Plan activities outside
If the only thing kids can do outside is run around in circles on the grass, it won’t be nearly enough fun for them as staying inside and playing video games, so you have to give them something to work with. Remember that kids are creative, and if you give them a bunch of wooden planks and cardboard boxes, they will make a fort out of it, or an airplane, or a ship. If you want to give them something more concrete, buying one of those fun trampolines that they can play on, will lure them out and make them active. The key to getting kids outside is to offer them something that they can’t have inside, and make them fall in love with that.
Teach them skills
There are some vital skills that kids can learn only outside – riding a bike, for example. There’s also roller-skating, skipping rope and playing a plethora of sports, and the more your kids know to do the easier it will be for them to choose a hobby, create a friend group around it and spend more time doing that. If you have a choice between and outdoor or indoor pool, always go for outdoors, and the same goes for football, basketball and any sport that can be played on multiple surfaces.
Getting your kids outside isn’t hard, but you have to understand that you are the one who has to teach them. If you stay indoors all day, you’re not setting a good example, and you’re definitely not encouraging your child to go outside, so make sure you’re doing it right.