Getting a reluctant toddler to enjoy playing outside
The benefits of outdoor play are immeasurable. There’s nothing like getting out into the fresh air, and being exposed to experiences you won’t find indoors. For toddlers, getting outdoors is also a great way to to get in some physical activity, which is important for using up some of that boundless energy, and for keeping healthy.
However, if Baby is like many toddlers, she may prefer to stay indoors to play. After all, she knows what to expect at home, and has more control over her environment than she would outside. She also knows going outdoors means leaving behind her favorite toys and electronics, which can add to the battle.
Here are some tips for getting turning your resistant toddler into a nature lover in just a few easy steps!
- Plan something fun: To start, plan a fun outdoor adventure for Baby so she will get excited about being outdoors. This could mean a picnic in the park, a trip to the beach, or something else you feel would appeal to her interests. Getting her outside is the first step to enjoying nature, though it may take some convincing.
- Structure it as play: Toddlers often want to stay home because they don’t want to stop playing, so remind Baby that playtime will continue – just in a different location. At the park, you can start by doing something she enjoys at home, like playing with a ball or coloring with chalk instead of crayons.
- Consider comfort: When heading outdoors, make sure you’re ready for the environment. If Baby is too hot or too cold, she may be less likely to give the great outdoors a chance. Preparing for your adventure carefully, whether that means dressing in layers, or just wearing a comfy pair of shoes, can help head off some complaints before they start.
- Be a good role model: If you’re enjoying your time outdoors, Baby will be more likely to follow your lead. Be sure to show her what a good time you’re having, and to talk about what fun you’re next adventure will be, too. Your toddler will feed off your good energy.
- Make it part of your routine: As she becomes more comfortable outdoors, keep up with your outdoor fun by incorporating it into your regular routine. This could mean a morning walk each day, or an afternoon visit to the park each week. The more often you get outdoors, the more Baby will come to enjoy all that nature has in store.
There are a million ways for Baby to enjoy her time outside, and the first step to all of them is getting out the door with her!