7 Benefits of Raising Adventure-Loving Kids
If you have been tuned to this blog for some time now, you already know how we love the outdoors (and traveling) and how we ALWAYS take along our daughter, who is now three years old, every single time.
The thing is that bringing kiddos out for camping and hiking trips and backpacking is not very common here in the Philippines. Looking after them inside the house is already a huge thing but being with them on the road (or the trails) is another. Like I’ve said time and again, it IS possible but definitely not for the faint of heart.
But, why even bother to bring them along? Here are some things that your kids will benefit from if you raise them to be adventure-loving people:
Develops their motor skills
It’s scary to look after kids and see them run, jump and hop around furniture, concrete and basically any surface that can be found. I’ve read many times how saying “no” or “be careful” will limit a kid’s thirst for curiosity and adventure late on and it IS hard for a parent.
But guess what, it becomes less scary when you do it outdoors! Why? Well, there’s nothing made of cement there, for example; only soft ground and maybe some leaves and grass to cushion their fall. There are trees to climb on and ascending trails are a great way to exercise their developing joints.
Teaches them life lessons
Adventure does not just happen on your planned destination; it starts right from the moment you plan for it. If your kids are big enough to make decisions (preschool age is a good time to start), they can start helping you with the trip planning: looking for places to go to, finding the cheapest accommodations, booking flights and so on.
You can even give them a small backpack and ask them to pack their things. Of course, you might want to check that later on; sometimes, our daughter packs a gazillion nonsense items in her bag but that’s how you teach them how to prioritize.
Other things that they learn along the way include prepping for meals, cooking, pitching tents, budgeting, figuring out maps, asking for directions, socializing with locals and other backpackers and so many other things that books or a four-walled classroom couldn’t.
Children can get cranky (and this may even result to tantrums) when they’re sleepy or hungry or bored. Being on the road or in the trail teaches them to become flexible and adaptable even in the most uncomfortable situations. It’s the same thing for the parents, too.
Poop on the trail? Check. Diaper changes on the road? Check. Bored? Check out the buildings, count the trees or play with the sand and soon you won’t be.
A lot of parents are scared about facing these nightmares but you’ll be surprised at how fast children can adapt to new situations.
Builds up their immune system
Never play with dirt. Well, we think city dirt is much, much different than dirt in the mountains. We’d definitely say yes in a heartbeat if our daughter asks to jump on the mud along the hiking trail but it’s a big no-no when she asks to do that in a street in the city.
Then again, there’s also that common expression we have in the country to “eat germs sometimes”. It might be true — it’s surprising to see that there are a lot of kids who sleep in the streets who still survive despite the conditions yet those who are well-protected get sick very easily. Of course, this is not us saying that you have to say no to dirt every single time; just make sure you know the risks involved.
Connect with nature
In our country, it is very difficult to find a play space or a park with lots of trees. Many of such places here are made of concrete and perhaps only lined with a handful of trees, if at all.
When we go out on any type of adventure, we try to go out of the city. It can be the beach, it can be the mountains — anywhere that allows us to breathe some fresh air. The outdoors is a great place to catch worms, ants, butterflies and birds in action or maybe fish and small crabs. It’s definitely a welcome break from the fast-paced, technology-ridden life in the city.
When she grows up, we would love for our daughter to become an entrepreneur instead of employee just like everyone else (just like us). But, that really only happens when a person is willing to take risks, albeit calculated ones.
You can’t really plan every single detail of your trip up to the last second so if you are extremely particular about when you should end up where, that’s already a huge risk to take! Many times in our trips, we do not make advanced bookings for accommodations but somehow, we still end up getting up a comfortable and cheap on. We don’t suggest doing it though if you are inexperienced, especially when traveling with kids, so go ahead and book your hotels ahead of time to get the best and cheapest accommodations.
Encourage curious minds
Have you ever noticed that as you get older, you take lesser risks and become less curious about the world? Don’t do that to your kiddo! There’s so much more to explore and learn about the world so don’t limit your kid to what you only know — allow them to expand their horizons and discover things on their own.
That’s it. Well, actually there are a lot more positive things that your kiddos get when you train them to become adventure lovers. Just a reminder though, being adventurous is not about saying yes to everything; it’s about giving things a go after calculating risks and knowing one’s capabilities and limitations.
And, if you happen to drop by Cebu on your next adventure with or without kiddos, don’t forget to contact us; we would love to tag along!
This post is a part of a new weekly series called Inspiring Outdoors. The series, which comes out every Wednesday, aims to inspire and motivate readers to get out of their office cubicles, ditch the gadgets and explore the beauty of life outside. Go and explore the outdoors!
Want more inspiration? You can also check out #FamiliesOutside, an interview series to help encourage families to go out and explore places, near or far.
About the Author
Pam is an outdoors-loving millennial momma who loves to hike, trek and camp in the beaches and mountains with her partner and their 3-year-old daughter. When not exploring the great outdoors, she moonlights as a freelance writer specializing in the travel, parenting, personal finance and digital marketing niches. You can also follow her via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!