1. Spending time outside can teach a child many lessons.
Although the non-stop questions and talking may get on your nerves, realize that this is an incredible opportunity for a child’s learning. For myself, I know that I learned much more during my time spent outside than during the entire week in the classroom. Asking questions about plants and animals and learning first-hand in the outdoors is a much more effective way than on a screen at school. I found myself much more involved in the outdoor environment than in a classroom. Not only was I able to learn about the outdoors, but I also received lessons about things like safety while being outdoors. One specific thing I remember from my childhood was that my grandmother always kept us safe when we went hiking in the mountains around Zermatt. There I was walking with a small harness with a bell. I thought this was ridiculous at the time, but looking back, I realize that creating a safe space helps me enjoy myself.
2. Having a child doesn’t mean your weekends of discovery are over.
Many people believe that when you have a child, your exploration career ends. Wrong! By taking your child along, you can not only teach them valuable lessons and spend quality time with them, but you can also enjoy nature yourself. Better yet, find some friends who also have kids and make it a group experiment!
3. Your kids will thank you later.
From a very young age, our holidays were mainly devoted to mountain hiking. (I know my way around Täsh, Zermatt and Saas Fee better than my own neighborhood. And although the climbs sometimes felt boring and endless, I am now reaping the rewards. Now I can use the outdoors not only as a escape from everyday life, but it also gives me an outlet to spend time with my children. While many parents struggle to spend time with their children once they really enter the teenage years, the outdoors provides a great place to to spend a day with your kids. And hopefully if you take your kids outside when they’re younger, they’ll return the favor and take you outside when you’re older.
4. Everyone involved remains in good condition. Both mentally and physically.
In a world so concerned about unhealthy children and an unhealthy population in general, there is no better way to get in shape than walking outside. It’s so hard to get your exercise when you work all week and your child goes to school. Making plans to get outside on the weekend can help you burn those extra calories you built up during the week, and it will allow your kids to burn some extra energy and get in good shape. Exercise in nature also releases a lot of positive energy and helps to process everything.
5. Start young with your children and they will do great things as they grow older.
While my parents started my outdoor experience with just walking in the Alps and the parks and forests around us, as I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that my interests have become much more advanced. I still use the lessons my parents taught me on my adventures today, including things like backpacking, icy rivers, winter camping, or 9 mile day hikes. If you start your child young, just imagine what they will be doing by the time they are your age and the endless amount of knowledge they will acquire.
I believe taking your kids outside is one of the best things you can do for a child. Those of you who have children, are thinking about having children, or will have children in the future, realize that spending time outdoors with your child will greatly enrich their experience in the future.
See you outside!