Convincing Your Kids To Try The Outdoors
If you spent your childhood hiking, fishing and maybe even surfing, then it’s completely normal to wish for your kids to following the same footsteps. However, the prevalence of videogames, addictive television shows, and social media on phones means children are spending considerably more time indoors. The Washington Post reported that ‘the average American child spends five to eight hours a day in front of a digital screen – an entire working day.
Fresh air and exercise should be a part of any childhood, but busy work schedules and prior commitments can make that seem harder to achieve. By making room for more time outdoors, you’ll be creating more time with your children; creating valuable communication and quality time with them.
If your kids are real couch potatoes, then telling them you have a hiking trip planned for tomorrow might not go down well. A good way to begin introducing them to the idea is by inviting them to join you on a walk with the dog or put a reward at the end of it. Saying ‘we’re planning on going for a long walk tomorrow and there’s ice cream at the end of it’ is far more appealing than ‘we’re going camping for an entire weekend.’ Placing little rewards at the end of small trips are the trick to convincing your kids to get out of the house in the first place. With any luck, they’ll enjoy their walk through nature enough that they’ll want to come out again, ice cream or not.
Try something new
If the problem is that your kids have been to the same mountain walk or riverside path time and time again throughout their childhoods, then they might be perceiving the outdoors as mundane and repetitive. As adults too, we get stuck in the same rut and trying something we’re not used to can put us through a bit of discomfort. But thinking like a child is the key to convincing them to try outdoors activities. What’s new? What’s exciting? If you’ve been intrigued by the idea of paddle boarding for a while, book a class and bring your kids along to it. If you know your kids might actually prefer something like rock climbing, then book a session at a local climbing wall.
Tailor it to their interests
If the idea of plunging into cold water doesn’t appeal to your kids, then convincing them to try surfing is going to take an awful lot of convincing. Conversely, if your son or daughter has always been a water baby and enjoyed their swimming lessons growing up, then running along a similar tangent might be productive. If they love swimming while they’re on holiday, then the chances are that they might also like the idea of kayaking or canoeing.
Outdoor sports that involve paddling also often mean sharing a boat, which also makes it a far more social activity than something like snowboarding where you’re off for stretches of time by yourself. Pointing out aspects of nature that you know about and grew up along the way might just be what interests your kids if this is their first time. Similarly, you can also have fun racing other family members or friends you’ve made on your small adventure.
If your kids are social creatures at heart and enjoy making new friends, camping is a great place to make new friends and teach them the fundamentals of living outdoors. Toasting marshmallows and looking at constellations might be a better option for children who are less fussed about muddy and messy activities.
Book an outdoors holiday
There are so many options with outdoor holidays, providing you will have a lot of different personal tastes to choose from. A beach holiday opens up the possibility of long beach walks and games on the sand. If your children aren’t into the idea of soccer, than a cute and kitsch game of racket ball might get everyone laughing, or even buying a kite to learn how to fly. Then of, of course, you have the option or bodyboarding for the littler ones.
Visiting a national park gives your kids the opportunity to see wildlife they might not see in their back garden. Moose, deer and chipmunks are just some of the things you could see in Rocky Mountain National Park, for instance. Bringing a camera or a pair of binoculars with you makes your kids more actively interested in keeping their eyes peeled for wildlife.
If you’re keen to spend more time outdoors for the affordability of it and the idea of a holiday seems just too pricey, don’t feel you need to travel far to have fun. There are plenty of national parks and areas of outstanding beauty within the US, so there’s no need to worry about the cost of flights. If the idea of a holiday at all seems far too pricey, then alternative means of finance can split the cost of the trip over a number of months. A low-interest credit card or loan might be the best option for you and your family, but reading more about this is the best place to start.
If you have the funds to do so, teaching your children how to ski could well give them a hobby in later life. The environment of snowy chalets, mugs of hot cocoa and incredible views make this outdoor activity the exact opposite of a muddy outdoor slog – so the excuses can wait until they’ve at least tried it. If this is a new activity for you too, then browsing the ski resorts available is a great place to start.
Once you’ve convinced the family to put their hiking boots on and pack some mosquito guard, then the benefits could be very rewarding. Convincing your kids to enjoy the sights and sounds of your childhood could bring back some real nostalgia and get the family active again. Most importantly, it will keep everyone off of their phones, tablets and television screens – for a day at least.