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Explore the Outdoors with a Child

Mother and son walk through the park.

With our electronics-filled lives, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to just breathe.  Don’t underestimate the importance of getting kids away from the screen and into the fresh air so they can just breathe.  It’s easier than you think, and the benefits are worth the effort.  With the cooler weather arriving, it is a great time to step outside.

You Don’t Need a Road Trip

You don’t have to pack up the family and go far from home to enjoy the outdoors with those you love.  Even in a busy neighborhood, the value of being outdoors can be appreciated.  Steal your child away from their screen and go for walk.  Walk farther than you normally would and take a route less traveled. Be sure to put your phone in your pocket with the ringer off.  Don’t look at it again unless there is an emergency.

As you stroll, focus on what is along the sidewalk. Is it just grass or are there some colorful plants?  How many types of flowers do you see?  What color is the sky?  What shapes do you see in the clouds? Do you hear birds? Is there any unexpected wildlife?  Do you see anyone you know?  Practicing your powers of observation can take your mind off the stressful thoughts of the day.  Your child may really appreciate not having to think about school for a time too.

Gray squirrel eating an acorn.

Gray squirrel having a snack in the yard.

 

Make it fun.

Play a game of eye-spy.  It’s fun to discover new-to-you things in a familiar environment.  Your child might spy something you never noticed before, giving you a glimpse on how they see the world.  Get on your bicycles and ride a path you haven’t gone down in a while. If you have a dog, grab the leash and your child, and take a longer-than-normal walk.  When deciding where to go, ask your child where they would like to go. Giving them some control over the experience will keep them more engaged.

Little Things Make a Big Impact

Spending time outdoors with your child may give you a chance to connect over a shared experience.  You will both get some exercise and with that exercise comes a better night’s sleep.  Rediscover small and insignificant things around you and see them through your child’s eyes.  By taking time to just breathe outdoors, seeing the blue sky instead the blue screen, you can reframe your view and focus on what matters most.

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