09 May May 2022 Newsletter
Effective ways of getting your teenager to go outdoors
As we all know, outdoors and spending time in nature is essential for our healthy functioning. But how do you effectively get the children to connect with that idea? Some children really struggle to get motivated for spending time outside. After spending so much time locked indoors, adapting, and developing some strong habits of not wanting to mix with other people, especially when it involves doing it outside. It can feel like a bit too much light, too much fresh air and everything else which overwhelms all the other senses.
The thing is, when we are talking about spending time outside, it sounds very big and vague. Try to narrow it down if the idea of getting out triggers some strong reaction of your youngster/s. Going out for a brief stroll or walking to a local shop will do the trick and can count as getting outside, its enough for a step forward. When it comes to engaging teenagers with that activity, it doesn’t always have to do with buying them into it in terms of anything materialistic. There are many motivational ways of doing it without using your purse, please see as follow:
- Be clear about your idea or a plan of getting out
Young people like to know what they’re going to do. Share it with them. Have some knowledge of where you’re going and fill in the gaps with the young person. As you open that conversation.
Promising a film or favourite meal afterwards can help too. Something that can them motivate and to look forward to. It also helps to have an idea when you are going to be back home, to have an end point.
- Keep it simple
It’s often when we try to make it exciting that it can become overwhelming and imply some challenge before they even get out so by keeping it simple and saying you just want to spend some time together whilst in the fresh air is enough. Its all about the positive relationship you are fostering with yourself, all involved and the outdoors.
Start small. The outdoors can be a scary place when you’ve not been out there often. Make use of free spaces around you.
- Involve your children’s friends
When it comes to teenagers, they want to be doing things with their friends and often it can be used as a motivation to explore something new.
Without even realising, young people, whilst socialising with their peers in a guided by adults’ way can learn a lot of different life skills like teamwork, leadership and, most importantly, resilience. Look into signing up for some clubs and activities outside of school involving friends of your youngsters.
- Find something they love and connect with
Young people tend to like being outside. They might resist for various reasons. You can be the leader to remind and teach that it is healthy and beneficial for everyone and encourage them to create a habit of getting out.
There are many different outdoor activities like: cycling, sailing, hiking, camping, archery, scouts, forest school etc.
- Let them win
Teenagers need to feel a sense of importance and being listened too. Whilst getting out and engaging in different activities, catch them when they are willing to share something they know and think is helpful, acknowledge it and show interest as if you hear it for the first time. This is not a white lie but a fact, it’s probably the first time you’ve heard it from them.
- Be the cheerleader
“Passion is contagious – it’s the most contagious emotion you can have.” (Dwayne Fields)
Sometimes, the best thing you can do, is to hold the space for their big and strong emotions. Keep being reassuring and persistent in guiding them into the values you are trying to instil as it shows that you care, and you’ll stick by your child and can be there along the way. Lead the way!
- Ask for their feedback
By asking for feedback, you are involving your teenager in the decision-making around your next outing.
It is important to promote reflection practice and enquire about their thoughts and feelings about their experience: “Tell me how are you feeling about it? Was that so scary? Would you do it again? Would you bring your friends out here?’
Encourage them to stop for a moment and listen to the natural sounds… they can’t hear any traffic, cars or shouting. It’s a good place to reach back to.
Enjoy experimenting with these steps and remember, practice makes the change you are after!
Happy summer from Unravel