Most parents would love to see their children grow up with character traits like adaptability, resilience, and independence . One of the best ways to develop those character traits in your child is through adventures. Adventures naturally breed things like adaptability, resilience and independence because through adventure a child steps outside of their comfort zone and is stretched as they try new things.
Of course, some children are naturally adventurous. But what about the other ones? The ones less inclined to take risks, even small ones, and who prefer the comforts of home to a sleeping bag under the stars? Can we help grow a spirit of adventure in those kiddos too? Yes, we can! And we don’t even have to push them to become someone they’re not in the process. We can just help them blossom into a slightly more adventurous version of themselves and cultivate those desirable character traits in them as we do.
Here are three simple things we can do to help our kids grow into adventurous people.
1. Make adventures a regular, intentional part of your family life.
If we want our kids to say yes when we propose adventures, then we must make adventures a regular part of our family routine, Make adventures just as important as Saturday morning soccer games or weekly music lessons. Schedule simple adventures weekly, or monthly, and put a grand adventure or two on the calendar every year. By doing so, you are making adventurous living something normal and not overwhelming. In time, they’ll even become something to anticipate with happiness.
2. Make sure your adventures grow along with your child.
In order for your child to want to continue to adventure with you, you need to create adventures that are new and also challenging. If we’re still suggesting the same walk around the neighborhood that our 10-year-old has been taking since he learned to toddle, the excitement won’t be there on his part. So instead of that walk around the block, suggest a couple mile hike in a wilderness park. And once that becomes routine, begin training for a hike up a peak or to a back country campground for an overnight campout. When we help our kids achieve something they worked hard for, they’re going to enjoy the satisfaction of that achievement. And that will make them all the more ready to join us on the next adventure!
3. Teach your child that misadventure is not a negative.
It’s easy to want to give up when our adventures don’t go according to plan. But if we want to grow those character traits of adaptability and resilience, there is no better way than through misadventure. When we teach our children to embrace misadventures as an opportunity to grow, learn and even laugh about later on, we’re giving them powerful tools to use when they face adversity in all areas of their lives, both now and in the years to come.
When we make the time to create regular adventures for our family, to keep adding to them as our kids grow, and we embrace misadventure to discover what we can learn from it, we are on our way to raising adventurous kids.
Greta’s debut book, Adventuring Together is available now! Check out all of Greta’s musings at gretaeskridge.com