Who doesn’t want confident kids?
What if someone told you that your child’s confidence is right outside your door? Believe it or not, kids thrive in the outdoors and taking kids on adventures builds their confidence which ultimately carries over into their adult years. There are numerous studies and boring statistics that this blog post could quote to persuade you to believe that your child’s confidence lies in the great outdoors. Instead of that mind-numbing task, this post will share with you the ways we have found that will have your kids begging to go outside.
Adventuring Kids are Confident Kids: 7 Tips to get Your Kids Loving the Outdoors
Embrace Nature No Matter Your Surroundings
Nature is all around us. Even in the urbanest environment, nature surrounds us. “Wildlife thrives on the edges,” writes Richard Louv in his book Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life. Take your kids to explore the edge of the park where the “sidewalk ends”. Go stargazing on a clear night. You can set up a tent in the backyard or on the rooftop during good weather. Spending time in the outdoors doesn’t always mean conquering Everest.
Create an Indoor Place for Outdoor Learning
Set up a “nature fort” in your home. Stock it with cheap binoculars or an introductory telescope. Place books in the area for bird identification or for stargazing. Have your children collect leaves to make rubbings and try to identify them. This place will soon become their favorite place in the house. Adventuring kids start early, the seed just has to be planted.
How do you see the future of this world? If you watch the news or read about current events, then perhaps you see the future as a post-apocalyptic scene from The Walking Dead. How can we expect our children to see a bright future when we don’t see that ourselves? This takes practice, but focus on the positive things that happen in this world, because believe it or not the world is pretty awesome. In our home, learning which animals have come off the endangered species list is a favorite.
Maybe it’s my old Boy Scout days surfacing, but the motto “Be Prepared” rings oh-so-true when taking your kids outdoors. Kids get hotter easier, colder easier, hungrier/thirstier quicker, and bored faster than us seasoned adults. Some ways that you can “cure” these ills are: let them make their favorite snack or make a homemade trail mix. Bring along binoculars for bird or animal watching. Download this free tree identification pdf, laminate it and have them identify different trees outside. (We like to make leaf rubbings as well.) Having a bad experience in the outdoors can take years to overcome so always be ready.
Straight Up Bribe Your Kids
This tags on to the above-mentioned “Be Prepared” tip. Give them their own gear, a headlamp, a pack, a compass. Let them lead the hike for a bit. Have them set up the tent. Bring along their favorite candy bar or stuffed animal if things make a turn for the worse. What a kid might say or do can completely change in 20 minutes and a Milky Way bar can make a kid’s crap attitude pull a 180.
Teens are a Challenge Regardless of the Environment
How were the adolescent years for you? Being a teenager is awkward, hormonal, full of eye rolls and “whatever” for most. Why not have your teens sulkily stare at their phones in a beautiful natural setting rather than in their rooms at home? Have your teens bring a friend. Have them plan and cook the camping dinner. Give them the freedom to go off and explore on their own. In high school and driving ages allow them to take outdoor adventures with their friends without adults. It sounds scary, but you will be amazed when given the chance how mature your teens can be.
New Challenges Boost Confidence
One of our children recently learned to tie his shoes. It was a frustrating time at first, but once he mastered the skill, his immediate question was “How do I tie knots for rock climbing?” Proud parent, here for sure! New challenges boost confidence in both kids and adults. Plan a vacation around trying new activities or learning a new outdoor skill set. Let your child be the navigator on the next family road trip. These challenges will prepare them to face new challenges with confidence that their adult self will thank you for.
There are no directions on how to raise kids. Each parent at times is as clueless as the next. But raising well-rounded, confident kids is something we at Adventuresque believe strongly in. Adventuring kids are confident kids!