Tearing our two daughters (9 and 10) away from screens is becoming an increasingly difficult task.
When they get in from school, they have homework to do on their laptops. Fair enough. However, they’ve developed and perfected the skill of sliding seamlessly from homework into Minecraft / Animal Jam. Devious laptop ninjas. “Ah, but dad. I’m using Scratch (a kids programming language). That’s like work, not play”, they protest when we say that they’ve had enough screen time. Nice try. If it involves you staring at that laptop with such intensity that you wouldn’t noticed if the house was on fire, then it counts as screen time.
No more! We’re reclaiming our kids from their devices!
Waterproofs jackets and trousers. Wellies. These are absolutely essential for us, given that we live in the west of Scotland. They also provide no excuses for kids who don’t want to go outside because it’s raining. Tough! You’re protected!
The truth is that once they’re outside they absolutely love it. They have a great time. It’s the initial wrench away from their beloved electronics that requires the effort. So we’re going to make that effort as often as possible, and definitely every Sunday. We are surrounded by some of the most beautiful parts of the UK here in the Renfrewshire countryside and a short drive the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. Just a couple of miles away, for example, is Castle Semple Country Park in Lochwinnoch. That’s the perfect place to start our Sunday walks!
As walks go, it’s not a difficult one. The ducks welcome you at the car park at the edge of the loch. (They do have heads, honest. I think they’re just having a snooze.) Then you have a choice of a cycle path or a walk by the water. The most challenging thing is the weather!
Fresh air and exercise. It’s a good laugh, fun family time and free! Ideally I’d like to eventually take the family for a walk up Ben Lomond or some other mountains close by. There’s so much to pick from, but a lot of it might be a bit too challenging for wee legs. There’s still loads to do though, with dozens of country parks.
Another intention is to make being outside a big part of the blog. You tend to take more pictures when you’re out doing stuff, and making more memories. Granted, it’s more challenging during the winter, but there’s always something you can be doing.
Loads of parks have stuff hidden in the woods. There’s thrones here. In nearby Finlaystone Park, there’s a whole pirate ship. We were recently at a park in the North Lake District with a Gruffalo hunt. It’s great that places are making more effort to engage with families in such a way. It makes it so much easier to get the kids out there. And it helps that we also have fields and a loch at the end of our garden!