Residential Life
Encouraging Independent Outdoor Play in Children

Encouraging Independent Outdoor Play in Children

With the number of tasks that you must complete regularly, encouraging your kids to play outdoors might seem like a great impossibility. However, consider how important the fresh air and exercise are to your youngsters. Instead of allowing your children to surrender to a life of television and social media, motivate them to play outside independently if they are old enough to do so.

Enhance the Yard

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Your kids should learn how to use their imaginations to engage in interactive play as you did when you were a child; however, you’ll likely need to give them a nudge in the right direction. Take your children’s interests into account. For example, if your kids like to go to the park, get some equipment so that you can encourage playing on a swing set in the yard. If your kids like sports, set up some athletic gear in the yard.

Keep a Watchful Eye

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You might remember always wanting to play outside without parents around when you were a child, and you might feel shocked that your youngsters don’t want to do the same. Remember that today’s environment is different in many ways from how it was when you were younger. Your children might feel nervous about playing outdoors without you there. Let them know that you are watching. For example, you can allow them to play in the yard while you watch from the open kitchen window as you get some dishes done.

Invite over Friends

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Of course, you will need to make sure that your fellow parents are okay with their children playing outside independently before you take this step. Kids can often find more activities to do outdoors when other children are involved because they can play favorite schoolyard games or divide up into teams for sports. Of course, if you have multiple children who are around the same age, you might then be able to skip the playdates. Still though, encouraging your kids to have bonds with children who aren’t their peers is useful.

Promote Outdoor Family Fitness

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If your kids see that you never like to go outside and engage in fitness activities, they are then likely going to wonder why they must do so. Look at your weekly schedule to figure out when you can fit in some outdoor activities with your entire family regularly. You might decide to start off one weekend morning with a run around the track, or perhaps you can find some family sports to engage in together. Also, take the time to play with your kids outdoors. Even a little bit of time between work and dinner can make for a happier and healthier family dynamic.

Encouraging your kids to play outdoors to get in exercise should be at the top of your priority list. Allowing them to go outside without your immediate and direct supervision can also help your children to grow more independent.

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