There’s no better way for moms to create lasting memories with their kids than by taking them on an outdoor adventure. No matter where you go, it’s always a new experience. But getting outside isn’t always easy. The following tips will help kids get outside this Mother’s Day and every day after.
Tip #1: Patience: Kid’s move to their own beat. They like to stop and smell the flowers, examine bugs or they may just flop down and sit for no darn reason. Let them. The goal is to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. So throw the itinerary out the window and remember that, “Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
Tip #2: Snacks and Water: When it’s time to eat, it’s time to eat. They may not be hungry when you set out, but rest assured they will be in a few minutes, especially if you didn’t pack anything. Hungry bellies translate to grumpy attitudes, so always pack some food and water. While you’re at it, grab an extra lollipop. You’ll probably need it for a bribe.
Tip #3: Dress Appropriately: Kids like rain, kids like snow, kids like sun. They don’t like cold, however. Make sure kids are dressed appropriately. Rain gear if it’s raining; warm clothes and layers in the snow; sun protection when it’s sunny; make sure kids are warm and protected. If you’re headed out on a bike ride, grab a helmet; if you’re going swimming grab a life jacket. Make sure you have the right gear for the weather and activity.
Tip #4: Location, Location, Location: Kids enjoy being around other kids. They like seeing wildlife and new creatures. Introduce them to new locations, animals and friends and they’re sure to be talking about it for years to come.
Tip #5: Kid-Specific Gear: Ensure the little ones feel special with their own specialized gear. Kids want to be just like mom and dad, but they need kid-sized gear. Get them their own backpack so they can pack around gear just like mom. Kid-specific items like a children’s gardening tool set or miniature wheelbarrow will also encourage them to get outside just like mom.
Tip #6: First Aid: Kids get hurt… a lot. Their can-do, no-fear attitude typically translates to scraped knees, bruised muscles and open wounds. Keep a first aid kit handy. A couple of Band-Aids and a small bottle of antiseptic can fit into any pocket. For longer trips, a full first aid kit with gauze, medical tape, antiseptic wipes, allergy medications, sting relief gel and tweezers is recommended.
Tip #7: Appropriate Transportation: Even though they seem like little balls of energy, kids don’t have the endurance that most adults have. That said, there may come a point where they simply refuse to walk any further. If you didn’t bring a stroller, backpack, wagon or bike you’ll most likely be faced with one of two scenarios (assuming bribes didn’t work): either you’ll be carrying that child back or dragging them back kicking and screaming. Save your back and bring some additional form of transport.
Tip #8: Time Management: Kids typically follow the same schedule and routines. Make sure time outside doesn’t interfere with scheduled naps or meal times. If so, pack a nice picnic for lunch or bring along a mat and take a snooze outside. You’ll typically know when they’re tired or hungry, so make sure you can accommodate their needs to prevent grumpy tots.
Tip #9: Start Out Slow: When introducing kids to new activities, start out slow. Want to take the kids skiing? Let them try on their new gear and walk around the house before heading up to the mountain. Ease them into new activities. Want to go to the water park? Start out in the kiddie pool riding smaller slides and slowly work your way up to the bigger slides. Even if they want to tackle the most difficult challenge, start them out slow and easy so they can get comfortable and familiar. If you push them too hard or if they have a bad experience, chances are they won’t want to do it again.
Tip #10: No Excuses! Don't let rainy weather or a change in plans stop you from getting outside. Sometimes getting motivated to get outside on a crummy day can be difficult. But once you actually get out there with the kids, its usually a great time. No excuses! Their earliest memories will be of hiking with mom for years to come. Just get kids outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
Originally Published: May 7, 2014