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1. Exposure can be as important as doing the activity. When our kids were old enough to walk we would strap skis on their feet and they'd just walk around the house or outside without us ever having them get on snow.
2. Refrain from measurements until your kids are screaming for it. And I mean screaming! We never have entered our kids into a competition (without them begging), measured how far, high, long, what place they came in, how fast they went, or even talked about the ranking of other kids they play outside with. They'll be measure for the rest of their lives so don't start that path too young.
3. No complaining. This is a two way strategy. Simply put, kids need not complain if they are outside playing and parents need not ask kids to go too far beyond their ability and risk having their kids complain. If our kids began complaining on a long backpacking trip we'd slow it down, camp, or if we needed to keep going to the next camp, explain that we are a family and we need to work together to make this day happen. We would also have a bit of a backup plan. If what we were asking the kids to do was a little beyond them, we'd have an idea of how to make it easier as the activity progressed.
4. Include other kids. Kids feed off of each other's energy so if other kids can be brought into the mix of playing outside, they become more creative and tend to stay focused on their activity longer. This can be work, but we have always tried to throw another kid in the car to snowboard, climb, mt. bike, or just hike out to a swimming hole. We find over the years, the kids all refer to, "That time we went".........and the story begins. It has created a mini legacy for the kids in our community that they all belong to.
5. Stand your ground. This might be the hardest thing to deal with in most communities. People understand stick and ball sports because they can be measured, but mt. biking?, a powder day?, building a rope swing into a lake? Not as easy to convince other parents, other kids, and sometimes our own that they are all great ideas. We just tell them we're going, make sure we have enough food (including chocolate), and head out and prove how awesome it is to be playing outside. And sometimes they believe us.