Before I had children, I was always “quite certain” that I would be the sort of parent that would be “great” at spending time outdoors with my kids. Afterall, what can be said against fresh air, moving around and enjoying your environment? And we have a garden, a small one all be it, but a garden, so hard can it be to just pop outside for those magic 30 minutes?
Then I had The Boy. I was out and about a lot, whilst he was still small. Afterall a little baby is easily transportable and you just “stick them in the pram”, pop the rain cover over and off you go.
Then we hit the toddler years and things changed. I started randomly pulling plants out of the flowerbeds, that look like they may have poisonous berries. Then I cut back a really thorny bush. I dug up some more random bits. And before it our garden was a mess. The secret garden it once was, now was a paved, muddy mess. Add to that, that everytime you set a foot outdoor, you have to wrap your toddler in hats, gloves, coats and shoes – and said toddler frequently is incompliant, going outdoors for a quick 30min suddenly seemed like a lot of hassle.
I set myself the challenge of creating monthly nature crafts – to get us out and about more. It helped, but it still wasn’t enough.
I realised I need to do two things:
1) sort the garden out. The mess needed to be made child friendly – you can read all about what we came up with here – we are so excited and happy about the neat, clean new garden with the great “play shed”. All that is missing in our garden now is some lovely garden furniture and I will be popping over to Kandco.com to see what they have on offer.
2) I needed to manage my expectations. Like with exercise, setting “too high a target” often results in a flurry of activity and then exhaustion and no more. Best to start gradually – 5-10min every other day and build your way up!
So. With these two new approaches in hand…. I can safely say, we are finally turning a “play outdoors more” corner. The revamp garden is simply wonderful. The kids are SO excited about spending time outside, that even the dark and cold winter afternoons won’t stop them. And I need to focus on going to the park with them at least once a week.
Slowly. Gradually, we are spending more time outdoors (and after we are done, we deserve the occasional family movie session!). Hooray.