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I Never Would've Guessed This Could Fix My Kids' Bad Behavior

Photograph by Twenty20

There are days when I reach my limit.

I joke with my four and six-year-old that “Mount Mama is on the verge of exploding,” as a playful warning. But I'm not joking. Rather, I’m letting out one last call for attitude adjustments before screen time disappears, reminders cease, and consequences roll in. Mt. Mama peaks when bad behavior is at an all time high. Which, during the cold weather months, seems to be more often than not. Cabin fever, anyone?

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When the bickering is nonstop and the manners less than ideal, I just struggle to cope and keep my cool. I find myself desperate for avenues that will mix things up and curb my kiddo’s attitudes.

And finally, I found it. The key to fixing bad behavior when we’re in a rut appeared to me out of the blue and I can't believe I hadn't thought of it before: It’s time spent in nature!

Too obvious? For me it wasn’t. It took a lot of troubleshooting for me to learn that there was something about fresh air, no matter how cold or wet, that did a 180 on my son and daughter’s behavior.

During the summer months the kids and I are drawn outside. There are parks to explore, gardens to tend, and community activities filling the calendar. It’s easy to throw on sandals and go from sun up to sundown. But when the rain arrives, we seem to lose sight of the outdoors. We cozy inside and seem to forget that there's a whole big world outside amidst the cold crisp air and giant puddles.

Attitudes shifted, patience returned and my awesome kids were awesome once more!

And that’s when trouble strikes. Squabbles escalate and I couldn’t put my finger on why my kids were being extra naughty.

Then it dawned on me. They hadn’t been out running or getting messy or breathing fresh air for quite some time. So, we found our rain coats and boots and went exploring on a trail near our home.

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Much to my relief, the day turned around for the better. Attitudes shifted, patience returned and my awesome kids were awesome once more! With just an hour spent outside under the rain-filled clouds, my kid’s bad behavior evaporated.

The next day we did it again with even better results. Sibling fights were cut in half, the whining practically stopped, and happy conversations with my kids skyrocketed. Now, no matter the weather, we venture outside as often as possible. The free, open space of the woods helps my kid's behavior more than I could have imagined, and you know what, it helps my mama attitude too. 

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