Its part of my schedule getting the boys outside something to balance the screen time they crave on a daily basis. I have a tick off list at weekends especially, outdoor time, learning books, board games and a family film! It’s like a military procedure but I just want it to be about balance not just staying glued to Minecraft or Terraria ALL day! Then we might vary it a bit when the boys decide to make a magic potion or bake a cake.
But being outdoors has real benefits for both their health and development; children can immerse themselves in nature and escape being cooped up indoors. Apparently according to this article in The Guardian “dozens of studies from around the world show regular time outdoors produces significant improvements in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning ability, creativity and mental, psychological and emotional wellbeing.” Although its also essential to give them some freedom to play without structure, so we tend to watch the pair of them run around pretending to be dinosaurs or trying to climb rocks and trees (and try not to panic they will fall off!).
I think it’s so important to get outdoors that I do not let a small matter like the weather dictate what we do! But as you can imagine in Wales its all about the rain so I just make sure we have suitable outdoor clothing from stores like Regatta, essentials like Wellingtons for splashing in muddy puddles and decent coats to keep them dry and warm. Last weekend hubbie said a storm was on the way, but they were so full of beans they needed the fresh air and an opportunity to stretch their legs regardless, if you dress appropriately its not so bad, a bit of wind and rain can blow away the cobwebs leaving you feeling refreshed. Children need to top up on their Vitamin C and get some exercise; vital when growing up in a time it’s all about technology. When I was my boys age as fancy as it got was a game of TV tennis so my parents did not have quite as many screen battles as I do with mine.
A decent backpack can help on those walks, for multiple drinks and snacks at your disposal to coax weary legs along. Although be prepared if you bring a picnic to be questioned every few seconds about when you will start eating it!!! It’s a series of delaying tactics to keep them motivated to move in the right direction before you use up all the food and drinks you brought along.
Yes they might put up a little bit of resistance when I dig out the dogs lead and say enthusiastically its time to walk the dog… “She doesn’t need a walk”, “you go we can fend for ourselves”, “she had a walk yesterday why does she need one today?”… And on it goes, but they reluctantly dig out their wellies and layer up ready for whatever hike I have planned for them. Sometimes they bring a little toy with them and it becomes more of an adventure but most notably we always feel much better when we return home. So persevere and spend some time outdoors everyday!