The concept is simple enough- get outside every day. Sounds too simple right?
But the actual task is quite difficult (daunting even) many, many days.
When I was pregnant, I worried a bit about postpartum depression and the best advice I heard about beating the blues was to get outside everyday. Even if it was for five minutes. Even if it was just to your porch.
There were days when it was easy. The weather was perfect, the boys were happy. We got a good stretch of sleep the night before.
But then there were days that it was very, very difficult and I just didn’t want to make the effort. But even if it was just for a short bit, it made the difference in my over all mental health.
But there was something else good that came out of getting outside every single day. It became part of our routine.
When I was a preschool teacher, there were 11 different preschool classrooms and so there were about 11 different teaching philosophies under one roof. When it came to taking the children outside, the philosophies ranged from: “That is too much work, we don’t go out very often” to “We get outside everyday, rain, snow or shine.”
I fell into the latter category and that drew me some strange looks as we marched down the hall to the playground on the worst of days. I would hear grumbles of “It takes 20 minutes just to get them all ready and then what?” or “All that work for 5 minutes outside? No thanks!” And what I would repeatedly explain to the other teachers was that:
Getting ready to go outside is part of the learning process. Sometimes it is the goal of the day.
But what I should have explained even further was that every time we got ready to get out, we were only making the next time easier.
As a parent, getting kids ready to go outside has not gotten any easier. But since our routine has always been to get outside at least once per day, we have the routine down.
I know that it is a lot to get your kids outside, but you have to re-frame your thinking into- “getting them ready is today’s learning goal”. As you make it part of your daily routine, not only will getting out of the house become easier, but your children will benefit from being able to make that daily transition.
Your mental health will thank you.