Five Practical Tips For Getting Outside As A Family

Like many new moms, I felt the strain and the exhaustion of motherhood in the early years; Getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercise often seemed like impossible addendums to caring for young children. Things that came easier before children suddenly felt overwhelming to me. Over the years, however, God began to show me that in order to do the work He calls me to, I need to care for my body. Often, that time of caring for my body happened outside through a walk with a stroller in tow or through a workout outside while the kids played nearby.


I soon began to experience the benefits of this time – not only for my physical body but in other ways as well. My stress levels seemed to diminish almost immediately when I was in nature, where I was able to slow down enough to enjoy time with my kids and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Recently, I shared why we continue to prioritize time outside as a family and why we can’t recommend it enough. If you missed it, you can check that out here.


If you are ready to say yes to more time outside as a family, here are some practical tips to help you get started: 


1. Make Outside Time Part Of Your Family Rhythm. 

Our daily, weekly, and yearly rhythms reflect what we value most as a family. To create a rhythm of time in nature together, consider what times your family members are available on a daily and weekly basis, if even for a short time. For instance, this may include a walk after dinner each day and a trip to a park together on Saturday. 


2. Set A Goal. 

If outside time is a new habit for your family, it’s best to start small. Rally your family around a goal and track it together in a prominent place in your home. Celebrate together when you reach the goal! 


3. Keep It Fresh! 

While daily rhythms are important to consistency and predictability, trying new things together helps keep time outside exciting rather than just another chore on your to-do list. For instance, you can explore a park or trail that you’ve never been to instead of going to the same one. Try a new activity like rock climbing or ice skating. Surprise your family with an outing at a different time of day (think beach sunrise or backyard telescope viewing)! Or better yet, let your kids plan an outing each month! The possibilities are endless and will vary depending on the interests of your family. 


4. Invite Friends!

We were made to live in community with others, not just within our immediate family. Spending time outside with friends and family gives us opportunities to develop relationships outside of our immediate family the same way it has within it.  Some of my favorite and most memorable moments with our small group, friends, and neighbors take place outside!


5. Food. 

Need I say more? It seems odd to consider this a tip, but we can’t survive without it. Bring the food outside!! Cook it outside and then eat it there, too.  Make smores around the fire. Pack snacks for your hike. Always, always, always include food. 


When you have your food packed and you are ready to go, know that the hardest part will be getting out the door. Someone will grumble about it. Comfort, the indoors, or screens will seem more alluring in the moment. Go outside anyway. Healthy families are a foundational part of God’s plan. 


Aimee Dykstra
Guest Writer