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Parenting: Get Outside More

July 28th, 2008 · No Comments

One of the easiest ways to fall into boredom and fatigue is to stay indoors too much. You will have an easier time providing quality indoor play if you balance indoor and outdoor activities. Indoor/ outdoor balance reduces Parenting Strategiesmonotony and increases your energy level simply from the cardiovascular requirements of getting around outdoors. Outdoor play also offers essential physical activity to your child. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intense physical activities everyday for children age two and older. While there is no disputing the benefits of fitness-oriented outdoor activities, there are many other types of outdoor activities. The reason to pursue a variety of outdoor activities is to break up monotony and revitalize your well-being as a parent.

One of the pitfalls of indoor activities is that the environment is closed. Add to that the fact that your child’s wants and needs are never ending, and you can begin to feel your sense of self disappearing. Your child will take advantage of this weakened state, not because she’s bad, but because she’s normal. She sees added opportunity to fulfill her needs and wants. You simply need to revitalize your sense of self so you can respond with confidence and maturity to your child’s expression of interests.

The outdoors offer an abundant resource: space. You will find that your child almost never tires of running around in open spaces. Taking your child to a playground or park is an excellent way to provide hours of fun and exercise. It also gives you needed calm from a safe distance. Try to make playground visits part of your daily routine (weather providing). For you, this is the closest thing to a scheduled break. Daily visits also increase the likelihood your child will make friends on the playground. Your child’s interest level will be stronger and longer when playing with friends. This will give you a better chance to truly relax.

The outdoors offers another abundant resource: variety. Variety appeals to your child’s drive to explore and discover. The best activities hold your child’s attention and free you from ordinary demands. Paddle boating, for example, is next to fail proof when it comes to providing wholesome fun devoid of conflict, discord or disagreement. If you take your child to the zoo, don’t try to see everything. It’s enough to enjoy a few exhibits per visit. If you live in or near a city that has an above ground railway, take advantage of an inexpensive sightseeing tour. This activity will not only provide a rich sensory experience, it is also very likely to generate a new, sudden interest in trains (which, like all quality outdoor activities, will enrich interest in indoor activities like coloring, blocks, Legos, etc., because your child wants to transfer the outdoor experience to the indoor activity). Don’t overlook winter time activities like sledding, snowman building and gentle snowball throwing.

The important thing is that you pursue variety and exhibit enthusiasm when announcing and getting ready for outdoor activity. Give it the feel of a special occasion. After all, it is special—your child gets to run around and explore, and you have the opportunity to relax for awhile.

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