How to be a more adventurous parent

How to be a more adventurous parent

My kids are now 10, 12, and 14 years-old and they are all physically literate. Or at least they are well on their way. It’s been a journey that started when they were tiny and has continued every day since. And, I credit my tenacity and crazy sense of adventure for getting us all out of the house and moving in new and unexpected ways. I’m not afraid to push past my comfort zone or drag my family along with me, and the result is that we are one very active family.

They resist, you insist

Not all kids will jump at the chance to go for a family hike. Depending on their ages, the suggestion might be met with rolling eyes, a polite “no thanks” (if you’re lucky), followed by a “boooooring,” said under their breath. Suggest swimming or ice skating and you may get the same reaction.

The key is to not take no for an answer. As a parent I have a lot of say in how our weekend plans will play out, and more often than not, I have an adventurous idea up my sleeve.

I looked up the definition of adventure: “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” Hazardous? I wouldn’t go so far as to choose dangerous adventures for my family, but exciting and unusual I definitely look for.

Adventure is about going outside of your comfort zone a bit, veering off the schedule for a few minutes and exploring what life has placed in front of you. And every adventure provides the opportunity to develop or practice skills and move in new ways.

Let adventure be your guide

Adventure doesn’t have to involve jumping out of planes or spending a fortune on extreme vacations. Seek adventure doing things you or your family already enjoy — just take it one step further.

  • Going for a hike? Find a new trail and follow it.
  • Hill ahead? Climb it just to see what is at the top or on the other side.
  • Stumbled across a waterfall? See if you can scurry behind it without getting soaked — or maybe try to get wet.
  • Something catch your eye on a country drive? Stop the car to see more.
  • Too rainy, cold, windy to do that today? Go anyway and see what happens.
  • Like yoga? Try paddle board yoga or aerial yoga.
  • Kids climbing the furniture? Try indoor rock climbing or bouldering or go on a hunt for the best climbing trees in your neighbourhood.
  • You all like to swim and bike? Sign up for a family triathlon.
  • Run a little? Register everyone for a Colour Run where it’s about fun, not the run.
  • Kids want to try Laser Tag? Everyone plays, parents too.

Last winter I dragged my family across frozen ice after a really, really cold snap. My kids thought my idea sounded too cold, and my husband thought I was crazy, but we had the most fun discovering the ice that had frozen crystal clear, super smooth, and unbelievably slippery.

As the ice melted something even more magical began to happen along the shore — huge crystals formed and pushed into giant piles begging to be climbed. The kids couldn’t wait to go back and explore some more.

Don’t be fooled by all the fun photos of smiling kids. It took a convincing parent to get those kids off the couch and out the door, but not one of them can say they didn’t have a blast on our adventure. And in the process they’re learning to be active, to be open to new things, and gaining the skills and confidence necessary to live life to its fullest. Someday they’ll be encouraging their own kids to get out to see what’s around the next bend.

Image © 2016 Deb Lowther

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