How to Foster a Healthy Sense of Adventure in Your Children

“Do one thing a day that scares you.”
-Mary Schmich

Adventure requires risk. According to Merriam Webster, risk is defined as the possibility of loss, injury or peril, and adventure is what follows. Adventure starts the moment you decide to expose yourself to an unknown outcome. Adventure is what happens when you push forward. Despite the fear. Despite the trepidation. Despite the negative possibilities. Adventure is the physical manifestation of the abstract concept of what it means to truly live.

Risk taking is a part of life. We’ve all faced the crossroads of deciding whether to cling to stability and familiarity, or throw caution to the wind and leap into the unknown. Although it’s comfortable to follow a predictable outline in order to arrive at an expected outcome, doing so isn’t always the best option. Setting aside predictability, in the name of adventure, can result in some of the most memorable, life changing experiences, lessons, and opportunities.

As adults, we’ve seen proof and heard success stories about how big risks can pay off. We understand that adventures don’t always end in triumph. However, are still undeniably worthy of pursuit. We’ve experienced the highs and lows of our own risk taking and have learned that a strong sense of adventure is a valuable quality to have.

As parents, it’s our job to pass that knowledge on and teach our kids to be confidently adventurous. Here are three ways to foster a healthy sense of adventure in your children:

Support Safe Risks

As children grow and interact with their world, they will naturally encounter obstacles that’ll force them to decide whether to be daring or cautious. Use those experiences as teachable moments. Model how to weigh the pros and cons of possible consequences. And if the risk is safe to pursue, encourage your little one to go for it! The way you choose to respond heavily influences the type of response your child employs. So, instill confidence by providing the proper problem solving skills to analyze the safety level of the risk, then be supportive when the adventure begins.

Don’t Project Personal Fears

As much as we hate to admit it, parents’ personal phobias and negative self-talk is contagious. Children are perceptive and impressionable, causing them to absorb and mirror the behaviors that surround them. Your attitude, perspective and outlook is the blueprint for your children’s foundation. Therefore, be aware of how you handle risks. Think of the example you’re setting and adjust accordingly. Lastly, when speaking to your children, equalize your emphasis on potential outcomes by highlighting what may go right, instead of only discussing what may go wrong.

Regularly Expose Your Kids to New Experiences

Humans are granted such a short period of life to feel unburdened by the stressors of adulthood. By design, childhood is absent of major responsibility. It is a safe space. To learn, to play and to fail. School-aged children have the luxury of experimenting and discovering who they are, while still covered safely under the umbrella of financial and emotional support. So be intentional. Foster their sense of adventure by tailoring their exposure. Seek frequent, meaningful risks and experiences that will help build character and shape their worldview. Give your child the best start possible to their lifelong pursuit of adventure.

Author Neale Donald Walsch stated, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Risk can be scary, but it can also be gratifying. Do your part to guide your children through coping with the fear and celebrating the reward. Use the three tips above to help foster a sense of healthy adventure. By doing so, you are opening the door to a lifetime of fulfillment.

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Lifelong Lessons Kids Can Learn From Family Adventures

Family adventures are usually synonymous with fond memories and exciting activities. Everyone looks forward to it because it feels amazing to visit great places and experience new things together with the people you care for. Aside from the fact that an adventure strengthens your bond as as a family, it also give parents a wonderful chance to mold the character of their kids. So if your family is about to embark on an adventure, do not forget to jump on the chance to teach your children the following lessons.

Appreciate and care for the environment.

Do you want to do humanity a great favor? Make it a goal to raise a nature-loving child, a task which will be much easier if you allow them to spend a lot of time outside the comfort of your home. Breathtaking sights and stunning sceneries often accompany outdoor activities and these experiences will help your children appreciate the beauty of nature. As you point to your kids the wonderful creations of mother earth, you can also introduce ways that they can do to preserve nature’s beauty. Simple things like not spoiling the place with trash and even respecting the natural habitat of wild animals are some of the lessons kids can pick up while you are traveling.  

Respect other beliefs and cultures.

Taking kids to new places is a way to broaden their perspective because they will discover that there are people whose beliefs and cultures are different from theirs. As your children get exposed to the diversity of the world, you can teach them to respect the ways and customs of others. Tell them that in spite of the differences, other things in life are universal so they can still find similarities with other people. You can teach your kids to focus on these similarities to still connect with others.

Learn the importance of patience and resilience.

Travelling is fun but can nevertheless be exhausting. Long trips along with unexpected mishaps on the road can be a test of your patience and resilience. The inconveniences that come with adventure can even discourage many parents from the idea of travel or adventure with kids. However, tagging your kids along on an adventure is a way to teach the value of being patient and resilient to them. Teach them that sometimes in order to see amazing sights, they need to learn how to wait. To survive on a road trip, they need to be strong and ready to conquer any obstacle they may encounter.

Increase flexibility and confidence.

When you go on an adventure, you take your kids out of their comfort zone. This will be beneficial as you teach them how to cope with different situations. Since they are on a trip, they have to deal with obstacles they may not find so amusing and make it work to their advantage. It will also be a confidence booster when they realize that they can come up with ways to adjust to different circumstances.

In a lot of ways, parenting is one great adventure. So why not enjoy this ride together with your kids? Take them on trips and go on adventures together. You entertain them and at the same time equip them with skills and virtues that they can use to tackle life’s future challenges.

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Pointers to Remember In Raising Brave & Adventurous Children

We live in a big and uncertain world. Thus, it is easy to understand moms and dads who are overly protective of their children. Yet on second thought, the ultimate role of a parent is not to shield their kids from danger, but to equip them with skills that will enable them to cope with whatever challenges that may come their way. As sad as it may sound, parents cannot be by their children’s side all the time or forever. At one point, you will have to let go of your kids and allow them to explore the world on their own. This moment is something that parents should get ready for. Courage is a must if you want to survive and achieve great things in life, so responsible parents should make it a priority to instill bravery and resilience in their children.

Nevertheless, your goal to raise kids with a tough spirit is easier said than done. Most of the time, parents are faced with a difficult dilemma because giving children some degree of freedom is also risking their safety. For this reason, some parents would rather keep their kids sheltered and perfectly unscathed inside the home. So how do you awaken a sense of adventure in your children so they will be eager rather than scared to chart their own path? The following reminders can help you raise brave and adventurous children.

Be a model of courage.

As stressed time and time again, parents should practice what they preach. Parents who want to raise brave kids should also examine their behaviors. Children learn best by imitating and are likely to pick up the habits of those around them, so consciously set a good example. If you manage to stay calm and alert during a stressful situation, your kids will also have the strength to be brave during similar situations. Moreover, a research study from the University of Wisconsin confirms that parents can pass their anxiety to their kids.

Discuss your child’s fears.

Children can be scared of the littlest things and parents can sometimes be tempted to dismiss it as something inconsequential. But if you truly want to help your children overcome this fear, start by discussing it with your child. Try to understand where the fear is coming from by listening intently to your child and be genuinely sympathetic. Instead of laughing off the fear, gradually encourage them to face the things that are causing them anxiety.

Share inspiring stories of bravery.

Storytelling is an effective way to introduce concepts and ideas such as courage and resilience. Share stories about men and women who successfully overcome diversity through braving great odds. Literature and cinema offer a wide resource you can use to inspire children to overcome fear. Give them books that depict the importance of bravery. Or allow them to watch movies in which courage is the prevailing theme.

Mind your warnings and reminders.

As parents, you may often hear yourself saying the phrase “be careful” to your child numerous times. In an attempt to avoid any untoward incidents, there is nothing wrong in reminding your kids to be careful. Still, constant notice to stay safe does not really accomplish anything and may even incite fear to kids. According to university professor, Ellen Beate Sandseter, parents can effectively help their kids stay safe by using specific and action-oriented terms. For example, in a playground where a kid is playing on monkey bars, a mother can say terms such as, “stay focused” or “take your time” rather than “be careful”. Instead of presenting the dangers that may happen, you teach kids ways to tackle the challenge with ease.

From day one, parents should already be aware of the importance of fostering independence on their children. Courage is an essential trait to survive and achieve great things in life. Making a conscious effort to raise brave and adventurous children is one of the best gifts you can give your kids.

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