Tip #5: Explore the outdoors

Make memories by planning outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy together.

True Story: Patrice wanted her husband to spend more quality time with their kids, Isaiah (age 6), Josiah (age 3), and Patric Max (age 1). He rose to the challenge, adding a slide, swing, and even a camping space to their city backyard! They even invited their neighbors over for bonfires and backyard camping. When the children’s grandmother visited from Jamaica and joined one of these gatherings, they showed her how to roast marshmallows and make s’mores, to her delight. Patrice’s family enjoyed this time so much that they took several camping trips together over the summer. Now camping and exploring the outdoors are an important part of the family’s life.

Outcome: Patrice says that prioritizing outdoor time together has made life better for everyone in the family. The first time they went camping in the woods, they decided to leave their devices at home. As a result, she and her husband talked for hours—something they hadn’t done in a long time. Patrice notices a huge improvement in her family’s communication since they’ve traded screen time for outdoor time. Not only do she and her husband enjoy more conversations, but her children talk to each other much more now, too.

Patrice says: “We love the outdoors so much now that my 6 year old joined the Boy Scouts, and I’m going to be a volunteer. He told me that when we go camping next summer he’s going to set the tent up all by himself! The experience the kids are getting now that they have less screen time is so amazing. The tablets my two older sons had are broken. I’m not replacing them, and they won’t even ask for them. We’re having so much fun doing other things.” 

Did you know? Spending time in nature is important for healthy child development.1 Research even finds that green outdoor settings seem to reduce ADHD symptoms in children.2 

 

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1. Louv, R. (2013). Excerpt from Last Child in the Woods. Retrieved from: http://richardlouv.com/books/last-child/excerpt
2. Kuo, F.E. & Taylor, A.F. (2004). A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health 94(9), 1580-1586.