You love the outdoors and you want to share that passion with your kids. The only problem is that in this day and age, it often seems like children would much rather sit inside staring at a screen.
Thankfully it’s easy to raise children who love the outdoors. There are many ways to encourage your children to have fun outside, and doing so will give them an appreciation for the outdoors that will last a lifetime. Here are six tips for raising children who love the outdoors.
Start Them Early
If you want your children to genuinely love the outdoors, get them outside when they are babies. This is because if they spend most of their childhood having fun inside, it is likely that they will always prefer being indoors to being outside.
Put your baby in the stroller and take them for a walk around the park, and put them on the grass (with a sunhat and SPF lotion) when the weather is warm. Let them play with the dirt and the grass and follow insects and bugs. This will encourage them to feel just as relaxed and comfortable outside as they do when they are inside.
Give Away Your Baby Stroller When Your Toddler Can Walk
When a toddler is in a stroller they don’t get to fully experience being outside, so it is best to get rid of it as soon as your toddler can walk. While this may slow you down initially, it will teach your child to walk around instead of being carried, and they will get to experience being outside in a more independent sense.
Walking around is also much more fun for toddlers; there is so much to see and smell! This means that your child will grow up with a positive association towards walking and adventuring.
Make it a Regular Thing
Don’t make trips outside a big event with lots of planning. Instead try to make sure that your children spend a few hours outside every day, even if it is just in the back garden. After all, the back garden is filled with interesting things, from bird’s nests to insects to flowers.
This means that your children will think that going outside is a regular, normal event, rather than a special or rare occurrence. Of course you can still make a big deal about hiking holidays or camping trips away!
Take Baby Steps
If you love the outdoors you probably want your children to love it just as much as you do. However it is important to avoid being pushy about the outdoors. If you force your children to go outside and do things that they don’t want to do, they will soon have negative associations with the outdoors. After all, something that is fun and familiar to you may be intimidating and scary to your kids. Remember that the outdoors is all new to them, and they might like different outdoor activities to you. Start with baby steps; go for a short hike together, or spend some time putting up a tent in the back garden—and never force them to keep going if they want to stop.
Employ Bribery Strategically
Bribery is a great way to get your kids to love the outdoors! Pack some of their favorite snacks and drinks for your outdoor excursions, and hand them out halfway through the trip. You can even buy them little pieces of gear to make it more exciting, such as a special back pack or a headlamp.
Take Advantages of Outdoor Classes
There are lots of fun outdoor classes that are specifically designed for children. Normally the classes are held at zoos or nature centers; you can look online to see if there are any in your area. This is a great way for your children to experience the outdoors without you, and they can meet other like-minded children who also love being outside—so you can arrange fun outdoor play dates for the future!