By Amanda Edmonds -
Being in the outdoors has taught me so much about life and made me so much more confidant and grounded as a person. It has also been beneficial to me as a parent. There are so many life lessons I hope to teach my children and here are some I am teaching my children by raising them in the wild.
1. Value memories over objects
I want my children to value the awesome memories they will create in the outdoors over the latest toy or electronic. I know that’s easier said than done, but if you regularly are planning camping trips and outdoor adventures, eventually those wish lists will start turning to outdoor adventures and outdoor gear. Trust me there is always climbing gear you can add to your collection.
I work hard to teach them that moments are just as important, if not more so than objects. By prioritizing outside as family time, you get a double win. You’re not only getting outside in nature but you are making a commitment to schedule important family time in.
Getting off the grid forces everyone to put down their electronics except of course the paparazzi mother. We have had days just lying on a blanket talking about everything and nothing all at once. We have all snuggled and read books and napped together after a hard morning climb. These moments are little but hold such a big impact.
2. Leave no Trace
What better way to teach your children about the environment than to immerse them in the outdoors. Show them why reduce, reuse, recycle is so important. Teach them principles of leave no trace.
We regularly pick up trash left behind in our local canyons; we always strive to leave an area in the same or better condition than when we arrived. (Pro tip: keep a spare garbage bag in your car!)
Childhood is best time to instill stewardship, ethics and respect for the outdoors. People take care of things they love, so teach your kids to love nature and to take care of our Mother Earth!
We take these same lessons and apply them at home. We try to be conscious about water usage, turn off lights when we don’t need them and recycle everything we can. Every little bit makes a difference!
3. Focus on skills that transfer to life skills
Raising kids in the outdoors teaches so many important life lessons. Being out in the wild they need to make choices and judgment calls, and learn how to adapt to different situations.
I love watching my kids learn to do hard things and grow through the experiences. Kids need to learn that it’s okay to leave their comfort zone. Adventure teaches challenging things like independence, goal setting, perseverance, and sacrifice. I know my kids have gained so much confidence and pride because of the crazy adventures we regularly take them on.
When your goal is to encourage your kids to rock climb hundreds and sometimes thousands of feet up a rock face sometimes it takes a little persuading. I never push my kids harder than what I know they are capable of and even still sometimes they surprise me with how strong and capable they are.
4. Don’t pack for them
Being campers we have honed our packing skills down to where our family of 4 and Great Dane actually pack up better than some of my single friends. We have to, our climbing gear takes up more space than an additional person. (Yikes)
Packing is all about knowing what you need and making sure you always have the essentials. Both my children pack for themselves (of course, I double check because trust me, kids will pack the most random weird things!)
We have our packing game down so well we know exactly what to pack for each situation, not to say we don’t ever forget anything but we all have check lists we go though mentally to make sure we don’t.
To me the benefits of being outside are so abundant it’s a no brainer for our family to get outside as often as we can. We make it a priority. I get it, it’s so easy to get caught up in the mundane day to day responsibilities. I promise that laundry will be waiting for you when you come back. Get outside and breathe some fresh air. Live in the moment.