So you’ve just read the title and thought, „Well those things are completely different!”, but are they?
I hear adults all the time talking about how their child does not like reading or books in general, or that their child always wants to stay indoors. Children are great imitators and from a very young age they start out in life imitating us, their parents.
I can remember as a child my mom reading book after book, from romantic trash through to non-fiction titles, but she would always sit on the sofa to read, or before sleeping would be deeply engrossed in a book in bed. Why does this stick in my mind? My dad also used to read, but was also very outdoorsy; gardening, golf, being with me at the stables and getting the BBQ warm, and I loved both aspects of this. What do I do now, read whenever I have time, and definitely before sleeping, run a riding school and livery yard and spend most of my time outdoors.
Ok, I hear you say, your job and environment make your family naturally “outdoorsy”, yes it probably does, and Emily loves being outside, but also picks up books whenever we are indoors, but regardless of where one lives, one can build in outdoor and reading time into the day so that it becomes ‘the norm’.
Give children something great to imitate, and also improve your mental wellbeing too. So let’s start with reading, what are 5 main advantages;
- Reduces stress
- Lowers heart rate
- Increases concentration
- Develops empathy
- Improves language skills
Now 5 main advantages of getting outside;
- Contributes to social / emotional development
- Makes people feel happier
- Burns off extra energy and builds strong bones and fitness levels
- Increases the attention span
- Reduces stress
So as you can see there are definitely similarities in the benefits, so how can you introduce the love of books and the great outdoors into your home/routine? Here are 5 tips to start moving forward.
- START BY CREATING A RITUAL – Whether you start reading a story together at bedtime or getting outside for just 20 minutes a day, soon children will start asking to read a particular story/book or ask to go outside.
- QUALITY TIME TOGETHER – I know this may sound ridiculous, but there is a difference between being physically there and mentally there. Children notice even the small things, and not being 100% there is one of them. Get used to blocking out time for your joint activities, so no mobile phone, mind on the job and enjoying the time together.
- MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE – Combine the two. Whatever you are reading there is always a possibility of making an outdoor activity that relates to the book.
- ROLE MODEL – Start reading yourself, and start getting out more. We mould our children on our actions, and you have seen the benefits!
- MAKE IT FUN – It shouldn’t be a drag! You also need to be excited about it, so it shouldn’t be seen as a must!
I do hope this helps see the benefits of reading and getting outside. Please feel free to comment. If you wish to get some monthly free easy indoor / outdoor activities and book recommendations either sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Instagram or Facebook.