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to wish my children would play outside more ...

(36 Posts)
MelodyBurke Fri 05-Aug-11 11:13:08

We recently moved to a more rural place, we have a lovely big garden complete with play house and "secret garden" at the end. We live on a quiet lane which goes down to a playing field with hardly any traffic. DS (10) is allowed to go to the park on his own and DD (8) is allowed to ride her bike up and down the lane on her own.

Its like the place I lived as a child and I spent hours outside in the summer playing "horses". Making stables, running imaginary riding schools etc etc, climbing trees & going on mini adventures around the nearby footpaths.

But my DCs just hang about inside wondering when they can have their computer time/ TV time (only allowed an hour a day), reading books, doing drawing or begging me to play board games with them. DS will go off and play football especially if a friend is round but DD just holes up in her room to play teachers.

We used to live in a city where they didn't have these freedoms so maybe they need encouragement. I'd love them to enjoy the outdoors like I used to. Am I just old fashioned.

GlitterySkulls Fri 05-Aug-11 11:15:48

tell them "go out & play"?

MelodyBurke Fri 05-Aug-11 11:20:44

smile @glitteryskulls. I'm constantly telling them to but within a few minutes they are back inside to do some indoor pursuit. Should I lock them out, give them little packet of sandwiches and tell them they aren't allowed in till teatime?

redskyatnight Fri 05-Aug-11 11:27:16

Do they have freinds nearby they can go and "visit"? I think my 2 get bored by their own company, but will play out for hours if friends are involved grin

AgentZigzag Fri 05-Aug-11 11:31:47

You can't make them like being outside - unfortunately.

Maybe it's something they have to 'learn' as they're growing up?

DD1 is the same, goes out and five mins she's back in again, which is especially annoying in the winter when it takes ages to get all togged up for the weather.

I think it was because she was an only for 9 years, got out there and thought 'WTF now??'

Do they get on together? If it's just one/one then there's possibly not going to be much to do but sit around, although we'd just get on with it and play horses/dens/Dr Who grin

pleasekeepcalmandcarryon Fri 05-Aug-11 11:34:07

I was liike your DD as a child, always trying to sneak back in to curl up and read books.

I'm still like this as an adult much to DH's annoyance- I like the idea of being outdoors in theory but I seem to struggle with weather related sensory issues, burn at the slightest bit of sun and feel freezing at the slightest breeze even on a hot day.

<am one of those irritating cardigan wearers even in tropical temperatures>

Hell I annoy myself sometimes.

Don't know what to suggest really, some people love being outdoors and some don't. Maybe invite friends over, buy water pistols/bombs etc..might entice them out smile

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Fri 05-Aug-11 11:35:38

My DS is the same. It does frustrate me but at the end of the day he is a home bird and is happier colouring, drawing or watching tv!!! The only time he goes outside is when he has a friend over and even then he's not massively keen.

One of my friend is giving me their old trampline as they are getting a new one and that is the one out door thing he loves so hopefully when that goes up he will want to be out more.

AgentZigzag Fri 05-Aug-11 11:40:00

Me and DH definately aren't outside people either, we tried but it's just so uncomfortable out there grin

We've just got a trampoline as well, DD1 just goes out and reads on it hmm grin

megkat Fri 05-Aug-11 11:42:52


But maybe if you've only just moved to a place where they are able to play out, then they just have to get used to the idea that they can play out, iyswim?

I would give them time to get to know where they are now, and they'll (hopefully) do it on their own smile

valiumredhead Fri 05-Aug-11 11:44:59

I am often heard saying 'I need to clean the floors so you need to play outside, I'll call you back when they are dry' wink

MelodyBurke Fri 05-Aug-11 11:47:43

Lack of friends is a possible problem. There aren't many children down the lane and they go to school in a different village because it was the only one with places when we moved so all their friends are there and have to be taxied in for play dates. I have identified some local children so maybe will have to try taking them round and door knocking. Think part of prob is that other parents work full time so kids are all signed up for summer camp type things. Not just knocking around at home.

I was effectively an only child (much older sibling) so used to play on my own the whole time but was quite happy with that. Hence my frustration. Maybe I was just weird but on my local travels I did encounter other children although you don't see so many now.

They get on OK and do play together when they aren't arguing grin but their favourite game is "hamsters" which involved wrapping one or other up in a duvet. Maybe I'll have to put the tent up and call it an outdoor hamster cage.

Its not helped by DP who's idea of a relaxing weekend is to sit inside watching sport on TV.

MelodyBurke Fri 05-Aug-11 11:49:23

LOL at reading on trampoline. DD did have a phase of sitting in playhouse (which is rather fine on stilts and I'm quite tempted to sleep out in it one night) reading.

ivykaty44 Fri 05-Aug-11 11:50:16

OP are you inside the house or outside in the garden?

MelodyBurke Fri 05-Aug-11 11:54:02

I am usually in house clearing up piles of crap that have accumulated from their indoor pursuits.

When I was child that was whole attraction - outdoors could get away from grown ups and retreat into horse fantasy. Indoors had to clear up own mess and generally be more civilised.

AgentZigzag Fri 05-Aug-11 11:55:05

Tent on the lawn is a good start, maybe you could start a thread about it? <<stifled snigger>> grin

notso Fri 05-Aug-11 11:55:43

I am firstly envy of your garden, sound lovely.
<<casts miserable eye over own weedy, postage stamp>>

When we did have a garden,(had to move and now have perfect house, good location but sacrificed garden) I found the best way to get my DC in it was to settle myself down in the sun with a nice cold drink and a book and lo and behold, they would come crawling out into the sunshine.

Same as the minute I get on MN they come hovering round the computer like flies.

ivykaty44 Fri 05-Aug-11 11:57:59

Get yourself outside and into the garden - they will follow you there.

Start taking the clearings up outside to the play house - take the indoor pursiuts they like outside.

What outdoor games do your dc own? can you go and sort them out in the outdoors and lock the house up grin

northernrock Fri 05-Aug-11 11:58:07

Tell them the house is infested with child-eating goblins.

WilsonFrickett Fri 05-Aug-11 12:03:44

Get the tent up then they can read books inside the tent. Everyone is happy.

MelodyBurke Fri 05-Aug-11 12:04:05

notso - garden is lovely - the reason we bourht the house. We settled for a smaller house and bigger garden on basis that chidlren would spend summer frolicking in it. (sigh).

However frolicking has not materialised. Did not realise it wouldn't just happen.

Maybe you are right ivykate - their town like indoor behaviour has to be unlearned and they need to be trained in garden pursuits. I work part time so not many days to do this free from DPs indoor couch potato influence. DP hates outside unless in someone elses garden.

aquos Fri 05-Aug-11 12:09:48

Mine (10 & 11) won't play out unless there is anyone to play with. Just the two of them, they'll go out, mump about for 5 mins, then come creeping back in.

I also find that they still prefer playing around at each others houses. This drives me bonkers as naturally I am obliged to then have their friends playing at my house. We live in a quiet cul de sac, with a huge recreation field in the middle and a nature reserve at one end. IMO it should be childrens adventure heaven. Instead they prefer to play inside or in each others gardens?

MelodyBurke Fri 05-Aug-11 12:18:54

Totally agree aquos. DS has been to play with boy up road but that involved playing inside on computer/ DS/ PSP etc.

When I was kid the kids next door were banned from their bedrooms during daytime which I could never understand as I thought bedroom was pretty dull compared to outdoor heaven but have realised the mum must have been like me.

I used to read things like Famous Five and dream of setting off in rowing boat with dog and ginger beer but my two see such pursuits as confined soley to books.

valiumredhead Fri 05-Aug-11 12:21:23

Have you got a trampoline? They'll never come in if you get one!

fluffles Fri 05-Aug-11 12:21:47

it's a big change for them, you can't expect them to feel comfortable outside straight away - can you start by making the playhouse more of an indoor space, or pitching a tent, where they can read or play board games or other usually 'indoor' things but just outdoors....

make the playhouse snuggly and get their art/painting stuff out there for a start... and books...

step by step. gently..

whatcanbemynewname Fri 05-Aug-11 12:23:00

Lock them out? wink

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