Today, we have a guest post from my good friend Kristine. She is a wife, mom, works full-time & loves to get outside for long runs. Over here at LagomToday, our goal is to inspire & encourage others to get outside. It’s fun to read another person’s perspective. Hope you enjoy Kristine’s voice as much I do.
Kids Belong Outside
About three years into this crazy parenting journey, I’ve come to an important realization: kids don’t really belong indoors. Not for extended periods.
Not when they can see the sunshine from the windows.
Not when they can hear other kids outside.
And especially not when you want to maintain any sort of order in your home.
Whenever they are inside, my kids are constantly trying to unhinge the structure. My toddler is climbing behind couch cushions, throwing food ever-so-casually, touching everything once, and then again with more force. What happens if I drop this? How about if I throw this? My little baby is watching closely, taking notes. And seeing as how my baby is literally days from crawling, I fear she has a lot of excellent ideas, ready to follow her sister.
Kids live as if they are outdoors all the time. The only thing stopping them is us, their caretakers, and the routines we have set for them. Our desire for structure and order, our respect for bad weather, and the expectations we parents put on ourselves to constantly entertain them get in the way of true, natural free-play. Granted, weather should be respected. Routines and demands are a part of life.
As parents, we often spend much time planning for our kids, and not enough time observing them. I’m absolutely guilty of this. I strive for that perfect moment, that post-worthy activity. It takes discipline to stop and have a reality-check.
Do we pay attention to what they actually want, communicated as best they know how? How often have I hauled out bins of toys, only to have my daughter be more interested in collecting sticks. It is in watching her play, instead of directing her to play, that she gains freedom.
Outside, she is able to be wild. She has space to explore and experiment. Neil deGrasse says “kids are born scientists” and adults are the ones holding them back.
The 1 Step for a Cleaner House
They can’t mess up our houses if they are outside; the outdoors welcomes the mess. It is a constantly changing and evolving play space for them to be wild and free. There are risks, and there are unknowns, and the only way kids learn to regulate themselves is if they are given the space to try. Fact: unstructured play is the best way for kids under 5 to learn.
How liberating is that?!
And so, maybe we look for more balance in our parenting. Maybe we spend less time stressing to occupy our kids. Maybe we cut ourselves some slack, and we cut them loose to roam.
Maybe instead of constantly working to entertain them, we let them rise to the occasion and entertain us.