Make your kid your Walk to Tuk partner this year!
My 3-year-old Izzy is a LOVER of the outdoors. And when I say lover, I mean as a baby she would sit at the door crying until I would take her outside. Me on the other hand? I enjoy the outdoors, but I would not say I love it to the extent she does. I almost found it easier to get outside when she was a baby. I could bundle her up to be warm enough, put her in the chariot, and go for a fast-paced walk or ski. Now she is little miss independent and wants to do everything herself. This means our walks are either at a snail’s pace or a cheetah’s—all depending on her mood. I struggled with this for a while.
Generally, when I go outdoors, I often have a goal in mind. For example, I need to ski around frame lake within my lunch hour, or I wonder if I can run Finlayson Drive loop faster than last time. But these goals aren’t quite realistic when going outdoors with a toddler, so I needed to shift my mind to make this enjoyable for both of us.
Here is where things changed for, she and I: I got equipment for the both of us for activities that I enjoy for her to do with me. We may not be skiing Frame Lake in under an hour, but she is giving it her best try to be like Momma. Sometimes the ski lasts 10 minutes, and other times 20. It all depends on how we’re feeling. We also both get to skate together. It’s nothing fast, but we make a game of it. “Come catch Momma on your skates” or “I wonder if we can skate to the other side without falling” are two of our favourites. We also add in some fundamental movement skills such as, “can we jump wearing our skates” or “can we spin.” Turning these outdoor activities into games not only helps her with loving what we are doing, but it also helps me with occupying my brain and being present in the moment.
Yes, there are days I do not want to go outside. But there are a few reasons for both Izzy and me that make it important to get outside, even if only for 30 minutes.
- We need it to help with our emotions. While I am a thinker, Izzy is a feeler. One way that works for us to regulate her emotions is to get outside, whether that be to explore our neighbourhood or toboggan.
- Being outdoors helps both of us with creating positive energy and feeling energized. It simply makes us feel good and gives us those happy endorphins.
- It’s the mental break we both need. She loves her Momma, but you would be wrong to think that Izzy and I never have shouting matches. We love each other, but we also get upset with each other and need to reset. The outdoors helps both of us with this.
- And lastly, sometimes as a Mom, you just need to wear your littles out so they go to sleep, and you can have time to yourself. Getting outdoors certainly helps with tiring Izzy, though I will say she is an Energizer Bunny and it still takes a fair amount of outdoor time to get her tired. (Yes, before you say it, I know—her mom is the same way!)
I encourage you and your kids to explore different activities outdoors. See what works for you and your kids. Remind yourself of the benefits of going outdoors and how good you will feel once you have gone outside.
See you all outside!
By Amanda Grobbecker, Director, Professional Development