A while back, I wrote an article for ParentCo (now, Motherly) called, “5 Steps to Raising a Viking Child” and it was by far my most popular article to date.
I hope it inspires more parents to take their kids outside for some adventure and fun.
Here are five steps to help you raise your own little Viking through outdoor play:
1. Be creative and the world becomes magical
Even the most familiar and mundane playground can become an entryway to another world if you encourage your child’s creativity. That’s not a slide, it’s an elephant’s trunk. That swing is hanging above a deep ocean, and we need to keep out of the dangerous sharks’ reach.
Parents have the hardest time diving into this imaginary world, but that’s our limitation, not our children’s. See the trees as dragons, a flowing stream as a raging river requiring bravery to cross, and fairies living in the nooks of every tree. Unlock your child’s creativity by reviving your own.
2. Clothing makes a huge difference
Scandinavians love to quote, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” by Sir Ranulph Fiennes and I chant that every winter morning as I pull on layers upon layers of clothing onto my wiggly kids before heading out into the snow.
Buying new sets of outdoor clothing will be expensive, it always is, but life outdoors is much more enjoyable when you are warm and dry. I shop secondhand stores regularly and scour local Facebook groups for cheap deals on rain boots, gloves, hats, jackets, snow pants, and whatever else I can find.
When your children are in the routine of going outside every day in horrible weather, it is a real joy to be outside when the weather is nice. Likewise in warmer seasons, stock up on brimmed hats, sunscreen, and reusable water bottles.
Don’t forget that you, as the parent/leader of these adventures, also need to be suitably dressed. You won’t last long on a dragon hunt if you are cold or uncomfortable.
Dressing improperly for the weather can lead to tears, exhaustion, and a bad experience for both children and parents alike.
Do you go outside with your kids regardless of the weather?