Kids naturally love the outdoors, but sometimes their competing natural inclination to establish their independence and dominance interferes with their desire to go outside and you need to motivate your kids a bit.
As a parent, dealing with kiddos who don’t feel particularly enthusiastic about heading out as opposed to staying in their pajamas can be tricky. There are a few reasons you shouldn’t necessarily take your kids out but for the most part insisting that you need to get some fresh air isn’t a bad thing. It’s so good for kids AND for you, and the more you do it the easier it is to form a habit of it!
There will be days, however, when you need to motivate your kids more than other days. On those days there are a few strategies we use to keep our kids moving and encourage them to enjoy being outdoors!
7 ways to motivate your kids when you’re outdoors
On an average day kids can eat A LOT of food. When they’re being active outside they can eat even more! Making sure that you have enough food to keep them going will prevent any irritability that can come from hangry kiddos.
LET THEM CARRY THEIR OWN GEAR
Find a happy medium when it comes to what they should carry. Our two year olds will often carry a backpack with nothing but a granola bar, while our big kids can carry a little more. Gauge what your kiddo is able to take on without fatiguing them.
If you already know that it could be a challenging adventure you have to put yourself into the mindset to deal with it. Try not to let any irritability ruin the trip; instead, try redirecting the mood with songs (“Going on a bear hunt”), games (Looking for Sasquatch, I-Spy), and positive words!
LET THEM LEAD THE WAY
Whenever it’s possible let your kids lead the way. If there’s a fork in the trail or a spot to go explore allow them to take the reins and navigate the trip! It will allow them to feel like they’re in control.
GIVE THEM BINOCULARS
Or a camera. Or a sketchpad.
Let them take in the trip visually and document it if that’s what they’re called to do.
TELL THEM WHERE THEY’RE GOING
Figure out all the exciting things that will be at your destination and continually remind the kids of what’s to come. Keep telling them how close they’re getting (don’t feel bad about stretching the truth a little bit and shortening the trip duration a bit) so they can feel a sense of empowerment knowing how much longer they have until reaching their destination.
KEEP IT INTERESTING
We find that the hikes that we think are going to be the easiest, like walking around a lake, are often the most difficult. The kids tend to get bored and need more challenging terrain. Taking the kids up Lindeman Lake was WAY easier than getting them around Albert Dyck Lake.
Finding something with a little bit of challenging terrain can keep the kids interested and more aware of their surroundings. They’ll notice how awesome being outside really is!
How do you keep your kids going on the trails?