Nowadays, kids love playing video games, scrolling through social media and watching a lot of YouTube videos. It’s not unreasonable to believe that a significant portion of Generation Z tend to enjoy convenient indoor activities more than getting outdoors for a bit of healthy exercise.
To make matters worse, the lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to have further cemented sedentary habits among kids.
While online activities have their advantages, it’s still important to get fresh air and exercise on a regular basis, especially for growing kids.
Not only do outdoor activities breed new experiences, they may also have a beneficial effect on your mental and physical health. In fact, studies have suggested that staying indoors for too long might be associated with depression, sleep disturbances, irritability and perhaps even a weakened immune system.
In this blog, we’re going to discuss four ways to encourage your kids to go out and experience the great outdoors.
- Make your backyard fun
The backyard is a relatively safe space for your children to play in. But if your child refuses to go out, it’s likely because your backyard is somewhat boring.
To make your outdoor space more appealing, consider purchasing playground equipment. For example, a trampoline with a basketball hoop is a cost-effective and easy way to add excitement to your backyard. When buying a trampoline, just make sure that you have all the necessary safety equipment. This includes safety nets, ladders and spring pads.
Even something as simple as a makeshift splash pad can be exciting for children and young adolescents. Simply lay out a tarp near your sprinklers and you’d be surprised how much fun your kids will get out of it.
- Encourage them to take up a sport
Most team sports are great for your child’s physical development, mental health and social well-being. Not only do sports encourage your child to go out and get some fresh air, it also allows them to make new friends, strengthen their bodies and develop their work ethic.
You can encourage your child to join a sports team at their school or with a sports club within your local community. Popular outdoor sports include football, tennis, hockey and swimming.
- Make walking outside a daily routine
Humans are creatures of habit. If you want to do an activity on a regular basis, your best bet is to incorporate that activity into your everyday routine.
If you want your child to go outdoors regularly, make sure to make it part of your daily routine as a family. For example, maybe you can take your child with you while you’re walking the dog or while you’re visiting the local park.
If your child is a little older, perhaps you can make running and jogging a regular family activity. For the sake of physical and familial bonding, there are even families out there who make marathon runs an annual tradition.
- Get them to play with friends
Children learn by observing their peers. At an early age, your child will most likely copy their friends and build their habits accordingly. Because of this, it’s important to encourage your child to play with friends that are partaking in healthy outdoor activities. Having peers that are physically active is a great motivator for most children. Certainly, it is much easier to go out and play an outdoor sport if your friends are with you.
It’s important to encourage these behaviours in your children. Don’t aggressively force healthy habits on your kids. Rather, you should support them and allow them to discover these activities for themselves. When your child is pushed to do an activity when they don’t feel ready, you’ll likely feel a lot of resistance and maybe even some resentment.
Going outdoors should be fun and fulfilling. As such, you should try your best to make the experience as enjoyable and pressure-free as possible.