New year, new resolutions, a new chance for everything and no more chocolate, like, for ever? It’s easy to mock this time of year’s hard to keep promises to oneself. So why don’t pick a resolution that is easy to stick to, that will keep you in shape and will be good for the whole family: be more outdoors - even when it is cold
You don’t need to book a trip to Alaska to have some great outdoor experiences. Start small with a trip to the park. Bring food and enjoy a simple meal outside. Make it easy, it’s not like you need to make the food from scratch from ingredients you collect in the wilderness to make it count! Somehow everything is just more fun when it’s not part of a daily routine. Let the kids run around and enjoy free play, because you don’t need any other agenda than just being together outside, enjoying nature and each other. Use your phone to take pictures, not emails and calls. For even more fun, make outdoor dates with other families and get your exercise by playing ball and frisbee. It will not only be the kids that sleep better that night!
Slowly grow accustomed to spending time outdoors, and after a few trips, you’ll know how to dress, what to bring and what you can leave at home. Explore further as your confidence grows, do day trips to national parks, find hills to climb, visit a nature center. By summertime, maybe you are even ready for a night outside?
Your reward is quality time with your kids and the possibility to see the world through their eyes. Together you will use your five senses in a three dimensional world that cannot be experienced indoors in front of a tv or a tablet. In our materialistic world, the top of every kids wish list is to spend more time with mindful parents. Being outdoors together makes that possible.
And as we say in Norway: No bad weather, only bad clothes! Dress for outdoor success with merino base layer and as many layers are needed for the season and weather conditions. Bad weather is not an excuse to break this new year resolution. Good luck, and remember that chocolate is a great fuel for exploring kids and adults alike, so no need to give up on that just yet!
Need more arguments for getting outside with your kids?
Watch the documentary Play Again by Norwegian director Tonje Hessen Schei. A film that follows 6 teenagers that spend most of their free time playing video and TV games, where she asks: What are the consequences of a childhood removed from nature? The question is answered by a host of experts, and unsurprisingly the consequences are not good. In the film we see how the kids react to being outside and exploring nature, that according to one “is cool, it’s, like, more realistic than videogames”.
How can we expect younger generations to take care of the environment when they grow up if they have never experienced or learned to appreciate it? Charles Jordan, Former director of Parks and Recreation in Portland OR says it in the film, “What they don’t know, they will not protect. And what they don’t protect, they will lose”.
Let nature be a place where your kids can learn important life skills, find meaning and inspiration, perspective and peace. It’s important for them and in the end, the whole planet.
If you feel the whole getting outdoors thing is too complicated, you can start small. Spend an afternoon with the kids picking up leaves from the trees in your street and find out what they are called. How many different birds can you spot in the park? Google why leaves turn red and yellow, and let the kids collect the prettiest you find. Spend an afternoon cloud spotting!
See you out there!