In case you’re wondering, that’s all-natural charcoal “paint” on his face!
We were recently told to “just face it, all kids spend their days glued to a video game.” Well, we may be weird but this is not our kids. Not because they have made this incredibly mature decision to not play video games but because we have “gasp” banned video games in our home. I know, we are so mean 🙂 Why? Because we feel like they are unhealthy to mind and body of our children. Do they ever play them? Yes, at friends and families occasionally (under strict supervision and very strict standards) but just like candy is acceptable, on rare occasion so are video games in my humble opinion. Instead we prefer to cultivate the wildness in our children!
No, I don’t mean that wildness that drives a parent absolutely bonkers in the house, I mean a spirit of wilderness, adventure, sensible risk and true excitement and fulfillment (video games can’t compare!). So, how does a parent go about doing this?
First off, you need to pull back the helicopter parent style. Don’t climb the tree for your kid, lol. Let them do it! Take them to the woods, sit down, and let them explore. It might take a few minutes to acclimate if they’re used to vegging out on media but they’ll get the hang of it. Don’t scold them for getting dirty, scraping knees or getting banged up. Encourage it and brush off any accidents. They’ll gradually get used to that. Never make a huge event over minor scrapes and laugh off falls (within reason of course) and bruises. Don’t find things for them to do. Let them be bored if need be, but force them to come up with their own experiences by simply being uninvolved.
Of course its ok to be involved to some extent, as long as they are the leaders. Teach your children to be leaders by actually letting them lead. Even if it seems silly or somewhat dangerous (within reason here, of course) let them play Indians, climb mountains, wade streams on a warm day in January or eat wild garlic (and stink to high heaven). Let them build shelters and dig holes. Let them climb trees and make tents out of your sheets (side note, make sure the sheets are expendable, I can speak from experience here).
Don’t feel like you have to entertain them outdoors. Just let them do their thing. However, I would say, its awesome if you can take them exploring new places as much as possible. To a child the woods is very big and wonderful, the creeks are raging mountain rivers and there is probably gold to be found everywhere. Encourage this mentality! Don’t spoil their imagination and sense of wonder with too many electronic devices.
Dads can do so much in this category. If you are a dad take your kids to the woods with you! Take them in a canoe or wade fishing up a river. Make them your regular partner. Don’t be afraid of getting them wet, dirty and cold; they will get dry, clean and warmed quite easily and the fire the light in them for outdoor adventures will never burn out!
So, make it a point this week to get your kids (and yourself) outside! Go for a hike in the woods, explore a creek bank or a cave and get your kids a little wilder in the process!