Getting Children to Fall in Love with the Outdoors
There’s a surplus of screens and internet connected devices everywhere, which is great for keeping everyone connected but frankly sucks when it comes to connecting kids to nature. Most children grow up glued to a computer screen and hardly ever get to play outside anymore. It’s a shame because playing with nature helps reduce obesity, strengthens the immune system, and helps kids better cope with stress and depression. Playing outside brings lots of benefits, that children just can’t get from spending time inside on the internet regardless of how productive that might be.
Naturally more and more parents are trying to get their kids interested in the outdoors. But how can they do it if adults themselves are spending so much time time in offices? Well, they should not think that is something that’s going to magically happen by taking children to a national park every couple of years. To get kids to fall in love with nature, parents need to make it a part of their daily lives. It’s all about getting in the right mindset.
Frame It as a Primal Need
A great way to get kids to understand how important nature is by not framing it as just one more entertaining environment. Rather, highlight its many benefits so that they begin to understand just how important nature is to their overall wellbeing.
Kids need to start seeing their relationships with nature as a normal part of their life, not a “vacation activity”. So long as they integrate their daily activities with a dose of nature, they should be able to make up their own mind as to the importance of the outdoors. Keep in mind that there’s no need to force them out to a mountain every day. Bringing nature to their daily lives can be as easy as designing a backyard with plants they can help watering, planning weekend hikes, or allow them to spend time on your local farm.
Encourage Contact with Animals at Home
A great and simple way to integrate a kid’s life with nature is by allowing them to have contact with animals at home. This can be done by getting a house pet or by accommodating your backyard so that wild-life feels welcomed.
Having a pet, especially one they have to take out and exercise with, will force them to go outdoors on a regular basis without making it seem like a chore their parents are placing on them. Plus, it ensures their outdoor experience is friendly and joyful.
Let the Kids be Kids
Hike to a lake or visit a farm, and let your kids be kids. This means they should be allowed to play by themselves. If that makes you nervous, you can always do it once you trust the premises. The important thing is that they get to be themselves in nature so that they don’t associate the outdoors with overbearing parents. Let them feel confident in themselves even if that means they’ll get little dirty or scrape a knee. Remember that they will be fine and helping them develop a healthy relationship with nature should be more important than keeping their clothes clean.