I was watching a group of young kids recently – aged five and younger. And something struck me – they WANTED to be outside. They wanted to run and jump and climb mountains (or at least hills). They didn’t think twice about the weather or the inconvenience of bugs or sun or wind or massive amounts of bison scat their mothers were trying to keep them away from.
I know not all kids are like that – some are bothered by weather and bugs and all that comes with it. But, most aren’t, at least at different stages of development. It got me thinking – do we have a hard time getting out kids outside because, as parents, it’s easier to keep our kids inside and we train them accordingly?
It’s easy to keep them contained with the walls of our home. We know where they are, what they are being exposed to and what they are doing. The outdoors is less predictable, less controllable. It challenges us to keep tabs on them, and challenges them to discover and learn and use their body to move.
And that’s exactly why it’s so important for them (and US!!) to be entwined in the wild that is the outdoors. Because it pushes us out of our comfort zone and keeps us sharp and aware and fit and happy!
But, it’s not the easier route all the time.
We have things to do, tasks to complete. Housework or emails to respond to or projects to finish call to us, and it’s usually easier to bring the kids inside too where we can keep better tabs on them. We let them watch a show or two, ask them to entertain themselves with indoor toys, and suddenly that’s their routine and their normal.
We choose to expose them to “virtual babysitters” like an iPad or video game, and it’s easy for them to quickly get sucked into an enticing past time that keeps them quiet.
It’s a slippery slope.
And there’s a balance for everything, and sometimes life just happens. But, how can we expect to have well-rounded, healthy kids if we are always looking to take the easy way out?
Let’s challenge each other this summer, when the weather is more inviting to get beyond the walls and out the doors. We all need accountability. We all need support and a village.
Let’s make outdoor time the normal, what they expect, what we look forward to.
What do your kids do best with as far as getting outside? Time in the yard? Playground with friends? Bike rides? Hikes? Leave a comment and help inspire us all!
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