Before starting the blog, I was becoming increasingly aware that my children needed more outdoor time than I was providing. This particularly applied to colder seasons, but even in the summer too. I would stress about my household responsibilities and not managing my time well so that we missed lots of opportunities to be out in the Spring and Summer as well.
A few of my biggest influences for making a change were Leah McDermott at yournaturallearner.com, the 1000 hours outside challenge, and Richard Louv author of Last Child in the Woods and Vitamin N. Leah began the 150 Hours Outside Project. This was a great starting point because you can reach this goal by being outdoors for about fifteen minutes a day. Seeing lots of families on Instagram working toward 1000 hours is so inspiring even though many don’t make the goal in a calendar year. And Richard Louv does so well to lay out the philosophical, practical, and research based reasons to have children of the current generations spend more time outside. The consequences of our indoor bubble, tech filled lives cannot be overstated.
Something that struck me as I thought about this whole concept is the common sense practices of our moms’ generation and how they contributed to our love of the outdoors. My husband grew up with two brothers. His mother wisely kicked her bunch of rambunctious boys outside during summer break saying, “Don’t come in until I call you for dinner.” Similarly, my mom would tell my brother and I to head out to our backyard to find something to do. We could swim, ride our bikes, build forts, and climb trees. As long as we didn’t blow anything up, we were pretty much left to ourselves. My husband and I were both raised with plenty of fresh air and time to be creative outdoors which, I believe, makes us feel at home out in nature.
We recently had a few hours at the park that were wonderful. We played on the playground, found frogs in the stream, and played tennis. At one point I was sitting in the sun just watching the kids as they played in the stream and thought about how the last generation would have sent the kids to the park and gotten to all the housework that I was stewing about previously. There have been many changes in parenting morays in our culture. One such change is that children are never to be unsupervised for any length of time for any reason. The result is that parents must spend more time in a supervisory role than previous generations have done. Many times I multi-task by writing, researching, or working on my phone when we are in the yard or at the park. But I also am determined to enjoy the experiences with my kids since I’ll be tagging along anyway. I’ve learned to stew a bit less about my other responsibilities, manage my time a little more deftly, and be a lot more in the moment soaking up the time with my kiddos.
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