Tips for raising outdoors-loving kids
So, your kids love the outdoors and, as an adventure-junkie fun-loving parent, you could not be more proud. You love that they are reaping all of the physical and mental benefits that come with spending time with Mother Nature. You’re doing everything you can to instill a sense of confidence in their ability to succeed at whatever activity they love most. Sound familiar? If so, we’re about to share some tips that will help you empower each of your children to be the outdoorsy enthusiast they are destined to be.
Safety is important
Being in the great outdoors can bring lots of risk, especially for children with high levels of energy and an endless curiosity. Be proactive when it comes to safety and teach your children about the importance of taking precautions rather than dealing with the fallout of an accident.
If you’re on holiday and the entire family is scooting around on e-bikes for the day, for example, make a big deal of the fact that helmets save lives and why it’s important to not ride without one.
Likewise, if hiking is the activity that you like to do the most as a family, talk about the importance of wearing proper clothing and footwear. Go through the contents of each person’s backpack and talk about the necessary safety items that you need to carry as a group.
Does your child love horse riding? Talk about mounting the horse safely to avoid injury. Research the techniques to keep the horse calm so there’s no sudden jerks or movements.
Remember, it’s all about safety and teaching your child/children that it should be their top priority at all times.
Set good examples
If you include lots of outdoor activities and exercise in your daily and weekly routine, as well as in holiday time, your children will grow up knowing that it is easily accessible to them, too.
Even if they don’t become keen runners, walkers or cyclists in their youth, when they are adults and want to take up an outdoors activity or sport they will be able to look back on their childhood and they will find they already have many of the skills and a lot of knowledge learnt from you.
Never give into frustration
Doing any outdoor activity – whether it’s hiking, biking or camping – can seem like more hassle than it’s worth when you have kids. Our advice here is to focus on the positives and never give into the easier option of sitting in and playing video games.
Your young and curious kids will grow into uninterested teenagers and you’ll have missed the opportunity to show them the magic of spending time outside. Not giving into the easier option may seem like madness (especially when stress levels are high) but we promise it will pay off in the long run.
Let your kids find their own passions
Just because you love camping in the wilderness does not mean your child has to. He/she might hate camping. And that’s ok. As an outdoorsy parent who wants to instill a sense of adventure in your little one, it’s your job to introduce them to many activities and let him/her make up their own mind on what they love to do.
Feed their imaginations
Kids have great imaginations and if they want to build a den in the garden, or find out more about bugs and insects, or fish in a river to see what lives there, or climb a tree to take a closer look at the leaves, or go to a beach to look for fossils, or rot in crisp autumn leaves to find out what it feels like, you should try to help the to achieve these ambitions. A child’s imagination, especially in the the outdoors, is something to feed.
Let them be leaders
You could give your children a chance to feel like they are the leaders in an outdoor journey. Being able to map read and navigate the family to a hill summit or along a forest track will install a lot of confidence and self-belief and these are good characteristics to nurture.
Whining is off-limits
“I’m hungry.” “I’m tired.” “I want to go home.” “My feet hurt.” We all know the sound of a whining child who is on a mission to get his or her own way. Whining and outdoor adventure is not a good mix so make a rule of no whining allowed before you step out of the car.
Let each person agree to talk about the situations they’re not happy with but not to turn that talk into a whining fest. As your part of the deal, be open and honest with your kids about what is expected from them and how long the activity will take etc.