As the daylight wakes us a little earlier and nights take a little longer to roll in, we start to feel that spring is on its way. Our family has always enjoyed the outdoors, and this will be our first spring in South Dakota. It is so exciting to see the beautiful surroundings come to life, with blossoms appearing on trees, and fawns being playful. Here are some tips to help plan for family time outside, so you can make special memories and help build healthy minds and bodies.
How does it help?
Even though we often feel refreshed after spending time outdoors, it helps to remind ourselves just how many good things can come from it. Here are some of the ways being outside can help us individually, and as families.
Helps to build a healthier outlook on life.
Builds and improves relationships with self and others.
Helps improve our concentration and memory.
Raises our level of vitamin D and improves vision.
Healthy changes involve commitment, but the benefits are well worth the investment. A study by the National Wildlife Federation found that many children spend less than ten minutes in outdoor play, compared to more than seven hours in front of an electronic device. This information made it easier for us as a family to unplug from electronics and get outdoors. We recognize that all our lives are busy, and it is important to find balance so in trying to be healthier, we feel a sense of accomplishment and motivated to continue.
What can we do as parents?
Kids love adventure, so we try to plan a few activities outside each week, even if it is a spur-of-the-moment thing. We try to paint a mental picture for them of fun and interesting things they can look forward to, whether it is a walk around the neighborhood or a short drive in the hills. Most children love a little mystery, so we also try to add a little something that piques their inquisitiveness.
Remember these too!
As important as it is to get outside, children (and grown-ups!) need other healthy elements too. When we combine these together, I have seen meaningful improvements in lives.
The food and drink we consume plays an essential role in developing and maintaining a sense of well-being. At mealtimes — whether they be at home, school, or work — try to focus on fresh, healthy foods. Well balanced, healthy meals help fuel active bodies and creative minds. Involving children in meal preparation when possible is a fun and valuable teaching moment that helps bring families together. If you plan ahead to make something your family loves, you’ll return home from being outside and everyone will be excited to eat.
Rest is important too, so find opportunities to enjoy some down-time; both indoors and out. Taking time to rest is good for us and our children.
Life is always a balancing act. Trying to find that balance is no easy task, but seeing happy kids with big smiles enjoying fun activities outdoors is a huge reward. Have a fabulous spring!