Nowadays, it can be tough to get your kids to go outside. From phones to video games and intricate toys, spending time outdoors has lost its appeal. However, the outdoors is just as important as ever. Children aren’t getting enough time outside, and it is causing some serious side effects. If you want some ideas on how to get your little ones outside more often, then keep reading.
1. Reduce their screen time
The first way to get your kid to be more outdoorsy is to simply reduce their screen time. The less time they are on their electronics, the more time they have to be outdoors. Not to mention the outdoors provides a tactile reality that a screen or video just cannot provide.
2. Change your language
Sometimes, the very language you use can affect the desire of your kid to play outside. Instead of using it in a negative connotation, try to frame going outside in a positive way. It should sound like a lot of fun to play outside and not as something your kids have to do. Make it as exciting as possible for them. How you choose to frame an outdoor activity makes a big difference in their enjoyment and how willing they are going to be when it comes to playing outside in the future.
3. Work to make it fun
When you actually get them outside, make sure that your kids have a good time. If they are playing at a park or the beach and they see you on your phone, they are going to mirror your behavior. Why would they have fun outdoors if their parents are not? Try to be present and enjoy it as much as your kid. It will help create a healthy relationship with nature for them. Further ideas to make it fun include having them wear a special outdoors coat or a boy’s or girl’s sun hat.
4. Inspire curiosity
When outside, pique your child’s curiosity. Point out interesting things you see, such as giant trees, cool house decorations, and interesting animals. A favorite activity for kids is construction equipment.
Additionally, if your kid seems particularly interested in something, actually stop and take the time to look at it. Let them think it over and start a dialogue about it. If they start asking you questions, then give good responses. If you don’t know an answer, look it up or have them look it up instead. Say, “I don’t know, but I’m going to find out” over “I don’t know.” The whole point is to enforce that the outdoors is a place of wonder.
5. Give them activities to do
Boredom is a killer for any kid. If your kid gets too bored outside, it will make them less likely to have a good relationship with it in the future. Try to have activities that will keep them constantly engaged. Some ideas for outside activities they can do include:
- I spy
- Bird watching
- Playing catch
- Sidewalk chalk drawing
- Telling stories
- Kite flying
- Treasure or egg hunt
This is not an exhaustive list, but just some ideas to get the ball rolling.
6. Bribe them
If worst comes to worst, you can always bribe them. You aren’t a bad parent if you do so. Almost everyone does it. You can promise to give them a reward after they spend a certain amount of time outside, or if they come with you when you go out on your walk.
Getting them outside is half the battle. However, the benefit they get from the outdoors will most likely outweigh whatever you had to bribe them with in the first place. Better yet, bribe them with something that is good for them, such as their favorite fruit or book.
All of these ideas are just some of the many ways to help get your kids to spend time outdoors. They may not like it now, but they will thank you for it in the future. Good luck!