Ep. 58: The Great Outdoors and Teens

Ep. 58: The Great Outdoors and Teens

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Episode Summary

Linda McGurk, author of There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather, clues us in on the surprising benefits of outdoor time…and how to get your kid out there in the first place!

Full Show Notes

It’s a beautiful day: the sun is shining, the temperature is just right, and it seems like the whole neighborhood is soaking it all up. Except your teen. Instead, your teen is stuck on the coach, face glued to their smart phone…again!

You’re pretty sure if you tried to ask them something they wouldn’t even respond! Do they even know how to entertain themselves without their phones anymore? Without any screen? Could they come up with solutions to everyday problems without Googling it first?

Linda McGurk, author of There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient and Confident Kids, argues that now more than ever kids need to be spending time outside. Whether it’s structured activities, a game, or “friluftsliv,” the first step is to just get kids out there. And if it’s cold or rainy, Linda reminds us that there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothes!

Linda is big on what researchers have termed “risky play.” Risky play allows for kids of all ages a chance to play unsupervised and learn through experience how to negotiate and solve problems. How does this work for teens? Have a listen!

In addition to learning how to get your teen off the couch and outside, Linda and I cover:

  • The health benefits of being outside
  • How to implement a “screen free Sunday”
  • Why “getting ahead” in school might actually lead to poorer learning
  • The power of a Facebook parenting group
  • And more!

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Workbook Exercises

Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview

1. Start a Screen Free Sunday:

It was only after her daughter got her first smart phone and SnapChat that Linda realized the whole family could use a day a week to “detox” from screens. So she came up with “Screen Free Sunday.” At first, Linda insisted everyone go cold turkey for screen-free day, but after the first Sunday she realized it was perhaps better to ease into it! To give the day a bit more purpose and her kids more control, Linda encouraged her kids to come up with alternate activities to do on Sunday and had them pick which to do.

To get started, first jot down four alternate activities you could do with the family instead of being on your screens! These ideas can be big or small, and ideally involve some outdoor time. Next, introduce the idea at your next family meeting, and bring your four activities, getting suggestions from other family members. If the family reacts poorly, suggest easing into it by decreasing screen time over the next three Sundays until you’re all at zero.

And if once a week is too much for you, start with one day out of the month!

2.  Create a Parenting Facebook Group:

(Members Only)

About Linda McGurk

Linda McGurk is a journalist and blogger and outdoors-lover. Growing up in Sweden she gained a deep love and respect for nature. Raising her two kids in America, Linda began to realize some stark differences in her Swedish upbringing and her kids’. She started her blog Rain or Shine Mamma in 2013 and has been going strong ever since.

Want More Linda McGurk?

You can find Linda through her website as well as on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.