Are You Able to Spend Time Outdoors with Your Children?
Let Mother Nature Calm You and Your Children
Getting outside has huge benefits for your children and you. Exposure to morning light sets the body clock, making nap and bedtime easier and more peaceful.
Exercise, especially large muscle play such as running, jumping, pushing, pulling, lifting, digging, swinging, pedaling, and pumping raises natural soothing hormones in the body, keeping everyone calmer.
Simply being in Mother Nature improves mental health and is a powerful tool for reducing anxiety.
Yet, despite these known benefits, getting out the door can still be a struggle.
When asked by researchers, American parents steadfastly agree time spent outside is important, but they like to be flexible about when they go. Dutch parents also value time outside or “airing out the children,” as the like to say, and schedule it. Guess who spends more time outside. Yes, it is the Dutch. When going outside is a predictable part of the routine the transition is easier, and most importantly, you go!
Lynn and I like to recommend that you plan outside time right after breakfast. This straight-away shift from breakfast clean-up, to outside eliminates the opportunity for your children to start another activity which may be challenging to stop, when you tell them it is time to go.
The added benefit is that if you will be needing to get them into the car, or to the bus stop, now a request to put on coats and shoes is more enticing because they are going out to play first.
Even if there is a bit of reluctance you will not feel rushed because you have allowed for play time before you need to get in the car. And better yet, they already have on coats and shoes! Plus, they have had exercise, soothing hormone are flowing through their body allowing them to cope easier with the transition.
If going outside immediately after breakfast does not work for you, later in the morning, after naptime or school, or a family walk after dinner are all great. The goal is to plan specific times to go – so you do.
If you do not have a place for your children to play at home, but drive them to school, stop several blocks away and walk to the door together. Or, if allowed, play on the school playground. Teachers NOTICE the difference!
Spend as much time as possible with Mother Nature. She will take good care of you and your children.
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