Getting outside every day is a necessity for me, both for my physical and emotional health. I begin to feel a little, well, off when I’ve been inside too long, and I’ve noticed my son is the same way. I can get sucked into staying in the house as easily as the next mom, letting my son play with his building toys for hours and hours while I enjoy some quiet time browsing the internet, doing laundry, preparing meals, or one of the million other things a parent has to do during the day. But after we’ve been inside for too long, I slowly begin to notice those little signs of restlessness. It’s subtle, but I’ve learned to notice the signs… a slight feeling of grumpiness or vague irritability. Or maybe a sluggishness, a low-energy feeling. Other times, it feels like excess energy that needs to be let out. I see these things in my son, too.
As a result, we schedule outdoor playtime into each and every day. This takes many different forms. Sometimes we get together with friends for social play. This play may take place at a local park with a fun play structure or out in the wilderness far away from all man-made activities. At other times we’re more in the mood for a quiet, child-paced hike together, taking plenty of time to dig holes in the dirt or play with sticks. When energy needs to be expended, a bike or scooter ride may be the best thing. Some days, my son is happy to sit in the stroller while I get out for a walk or run with adult friends; even this passive fresh air seems good for him. It definitely helps me! Our outdoor time may be as simple as a 15-minute stroll around our neighborhood or doing an art activity in the backyard. The options are endless! The benefit? We return home relaxed and happy, and that feeling tends to remain with us for the rest of the day.
So let’s get out in the fresh air for some fun. Even as I type right now, the sunshine is calling to me. Time to head outside!