Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Raising Healthy Kids When You're An Indoor Sport

I get it from my maternal grandmother.

I prefer the indoors. Really. I adore air conditioning and I'm happy as a lark walking on my treadmill. It's not that I don't like the outdoors... well, it kind of is. I don't really like dirt. And I can't stand bugs. I turn up my nose at bird droppings and such. I hate having to walk through mud or muck. Don't even get me started on spiders...

I'm just kind of prissy, it's true. There are a few lovely Spring and Fall days where I flourish outdoors and truly enjoy every moment. But the rest of the time? I would honestly rather clean my bathrooms than go outside to play in the dead of summer. And it makes me sad to admit that. If I don't put it on my to-do list, it's likely not getting done.

And so I DO put it on my list. Because it is crucial that my little ones get that fresh air and time to run around! My desire to be inside where it's cool and bug-free pales in comparison to their need to play outside. Do I sometimes wish I were one of those mommies who couldn't wait to get out in the yard? Yep. But I'm not. And that's just the way it is.

Here are a few things that help me make sure my kids get enough outdoor playtime, even with an "indoor sport" Mommy:

  1. I plan picnics. This gives me a solid plan and makes me feel as though I'm "multi-tasking". They think it's super cool and I admit I appreciate the lack of mess being outside means!
  2. I do little chores while outside. Again, this is about multi-tasking. I love to fold my laundry outside, for example. It's a mindless job that I can easily do while monitoring my preschoolers.
  3. I reward myself. Pathetic, isn't it? But since I pretty much drink only water all day long, if I tell myself I can have a glass of lemonade or soda after playing outside, it can be a nice little motivator.
  4. I let Daddy do it. What a cop-out! But I readily admit that my husband is better at outside play. I'm creative and crafty and great at keeping little hands busy inside. And so, when he's around, my husband is usually very willing to spend some quality outdoor time with the kids. He also comes up with cool jobs for them, e.g. being his "mulch assistants".
  5. I bring "props". It goes without saying- there are some toys that can only be played with outdoors. Keeping them neat and corralled in a net sack by the door makes it quick and easy to have something fun to do in a flash. Some of my favorites? The jai alai set and jump rope that came with my Yoplait Kids outdoor fun set. Win one of your own here.
And there you have it.

I'm not proud of it, but I do have to force myself to play outside. At least I've found a few things that DO work for me!

How about you? Do you like to play outside? Are there any things you know are good for your kids, but you kind of have to force yourself to do them?
This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday, hosted at We Are THAT Family.


Fourgiven Momma said...

I would rather be inside as well! Sometimes it's a good opportunity to find a shady spot and read a book or look at a magazine while the little ones play in the sand or some other activity that doesn't require much monitoring. I enjoy being outside if we're going for a walk. I think it is my need to be doing something. I hear ya about multi-tasking!

Bailey's Leaf said...

I love the outdoors. I open the windows as soon as I can and dig my tootsies in the dirt. My daughter is the same way (and her dad, too, since he is a Park Naturalist!)

We have a sandbox, swingset, tons of sidewalk chalk and some other outdoor play things that I've scored at yard sales or the thrift store. K- and her friend E- love to play out there. They have a picnic table with the umbrella that makes it nice to go and do crafts, have lunch or a snack.

What do I have to force myself to do? Clean out my cabinets. I need to organize them in a bad way. I haven't done them in a while, but prefer to be out instead of in! Eeek! Opposite problem! :)

Tracey said...

Wow - I can so identify with your post! I love being outside if the weather is perfect (!), but thankfully my girls enjoy playing outside together while I watch from inside! At our former house, we had a very nice screened porch (no bugs, dirt, etc.) so I could spend lots of time there reading or just relaxing. However, I must say I probably would choose playing outside over cleaning my bathrooms!

Kirsty said...

What a great post! I think lots of moms can relate-and kids too! I will use your incentives when we are having trouble leaving the a/c and the Wii this Summer ;) Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

What great tips. I am a 50/50 kind of girl, so either way for me. But my boys at 16 months of age have a strong will to be outside alot. So I oblige.

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Great made me laugh. I used to be the same way.


Jaime (ChaseNKids) said...

I love the indoors as well... I live in Alaska so I do spend a lot of time inside during the Winter.

You made me laugh. I'm so glad I found your blog.