The Two Words We Don’t Say Enough to Our Kids

The Two Words We Don't Say Enough to Our Kids

I don’t know about you, but the Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday) after a two week vacation of no time schedules and lots of skiing and eating like we want to and sleeping in and all that fun is sort of rough.

Really rough.

Especially rough when you are aged 10 and under.

Double especially rough when you have to DEAL with those kids aged 10 and under that are trying to get their groove back.

If I weren’t pregnant right now, I’d be drinking some hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps right now. Heavy on the Schnapps.

But, alas, I am 31 weeks (almost) and wondering how in the world I will juggle all those meltdowns that are bound to happen at the same time AND a newborn in a couple months. Thankfully I have a partner to back me up most of the time. Not so thankfully, I know that fire season is coming a few months after that baby coming and I’ll have to put on my big girl pants and deal with it on my own while he works hard to provide for our family. However, I won’t think about that yet.

But, I digress.


Back on track.

Even in the most blissful of breaks, there tends to be more chaos amid a lack of schedules. Kids thrive on schedules. So does my laundry actually getting done.

I had numerous times over the past two weeks when thoughts like the following came to mind:

“My kids are literally bouncing off the walls right now. I didn’t know that was possible. They’re never having sugar again.”

“It’s ok if they stay up until 10 pm. They’ll all sleep in anyway.”

“My kids never, ever sleep in. When in the world was I thinking letting them stay up. And why was the baby up all night again? How am I going to handle another?”

“I have been wrestling the same child for 20 minutes now trying to get them dressed to go outside. Is this even worth it?”

“When is it nap time? For me. Not them.”



And aha – I finally get to the point of this post: GO OUTSIDE.


I make this my full-time mission to get families outside and yet for some reason I have outdoor-parent guilt about shooing my kids out the door on their own. Unfortunately, I join 95.23% of parents in that guilt or fear of what could possibly happen if they MADE their kids go outside. Without all-hands-on-deck supervision.


What happened to the good old days when moms everywhere said those two words the most? It was pretty cut and dry:

  • You’re bored? Go outside.
  • Fighting with your siblings? Go outside.
  • You’re hungry? Take a snack and go outside.
  • You’re bouncing off the walls? Go outside.
  • You can’t think of anything to play? Go outside.
  • You keep screaming? Go outside.
  • I need to clean? Go outside.
  • I need 10 seconds of silence? Go outside.

You get the point. And you also know WHY we don’t let our kids play for hours on end in the fresh air anymore, even though this is exactly what they need. It all comes down to fear of something happening to them via animals (even if the folks that worry about bison stampedes are mostly concentrated in this area) and other people and what they may find. We live in a different society these days and our kids are suffering.

I used to say that a minimum of fifteen minutes of outside time daily was enough.

I was wrong.

It’s so not enough. For them or me. Even in my highly unmotivated, waddling, pregnant state. We need an hour. Hours. Of fresh air and movement and being surrounded by nature which doesn’t need any rules or organizing or cleaning or purging.


So, while I am always an advocate of families getting outside together, as parents we owe it to our kids to kick them outside on their own (barring impossible conditions and circumstances, of course) just a little bit more.

And maybe we need to tell ourselves a little more too.


Just do it.  Your mind and body and sanity will thank you.


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5 thoughts on “The Two Words We Don’t Say Enough to Our Kids”

  1. That is so true – if we don’t get at least an hour outside every day both the kids and I get cranky. And things have gotten a lot easier since my kids became old enough to go outside on their own. I usually join them after a while, but sometimes just getting a half hour in to take care of dishes and the laundry while they’re outside makes a huge difference.

  2. I’d join you in the hot choc and schnapps too if I wasn’t also 31 weeks pregnant! With 3 under 4 now I’m not sure what kind of chaos it’s going to be come March! Thanks for the reminder to get out more which we’ve not done this week too much – with horrible wheezy coughs which seem worse outside. But here’s to getting more outside time again soon! Xx

    1. High five for March babies, Laura! And 4th kids 😉 And yes…I think about that upcoming chaos often (and my kids are more spread apart than yours!) Feel better soon!!!

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