The fun and adventure of the great outdoors continues to compete with television and video games. With the advance of technology comes the challenge for parents to get their kids outdoors to exercise on a regular basis. Research shows how important daily outdoor activity is to children as they grow and develop. Unfortunately, research also shows that more and more kids are choosing to stay indoors in front of the TV.
Many parents are looking for ideas on how to get their kids outside to play without having to force them. As parents, we definitely don’t want our children to associate being outside as some sort of punishment.
Here are 5 things you can do that will help encourage children to choose to get outside more often to play:
Be the Example
If you want to see a difference in your child’s attitude towards being outside, it’s important that you practice what you preach. Focus on doing the things you love to do outdoors so your children see you and begin to follow your example. Maybe that’s a casual stroll around the block or riding your bike. You’ll find that the more active you are, the more your children will be.
Give Children Outside Jobs
Whether they want to admit it to you or not, children love the challenge of a task or job. To encourage them to spend more time outside, assign them outdoor jobs. Pulling weeds, watering gardens and flowers, and raking leaves are all simple enough jobs for children to handle and gets them active outdoors. For bigger projects, you may have to give them extra instruction or supervision.
Don’t be Afraid of Dirt
We might be preventing our kids from going outside more often without even realizing it. This could happen when we put too much of an emphasis on staying clean. When a child begins to become concerned or worried about getting their hands or clothes a little dirty from dirt, they may become less likely to engage in outside activities. Lighten up and let them get a little dirty. This will encourage them to want to do more outside.
Involve Other Kids
One of the best ways to get your kids outside to play is to have them invite other friends out with them. If this doesn’t work, then take it upon yourself to go speak with other parents in the neighborhood. Work together as a team to keep your kids engaged and social with each other while playing outside.
Provide a Fun and Safe Area to Play
When your kids are still very young, you can’t just send them outside on their own to play. Younger children require supervision almost constantly. Find or create and area that allows you to relax while your child plays. No matter where that area is, make sure it is safe and feels protected. This will do just as much for your peace of mind as it will for your children’s.
Here in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, we are able to enjoy fairly mild winters compared to other places around the world. Make sure you get the most out of the weather this time of the year by playing with your kids outside often.