I was telling and friend (also dad of two little kids) about my youngest daughter. A few months ago I noticed that she was staying inside a lot. Reading big thick fantasy books, totally getting lost in them, eating them up, hanging out in bed, for toooo long.
I was home alone with her on the weekend and noticed this happening and something felt off, something bugged me about it. It occurred to me that one of my jobs as a dad was to get her outside and connected to nature. I grew up in rural PA where we basically lived outside and only came in to eat and sleep, other than that it was the woods and unlimited adventures.
I basically forced her outside. The first thing I noticed was that she was looking into the corners of the yard. I had the hunch and ask if she was afraid there might be "insects" out there, she said yes. Then I said, "you don't know what to do in your own front yard do you?" and she answered "no."
I couldn't believe that this was my kid. Did I go wrong somewhere? Maybe it was my wife's fault (ha!). How did I get a kid who didn't know how to be in here own yard? I put into action a new house rule - 15 minutes a day outside in your own yard. I could be with her at times but it wasn't about me entertaining her, it was about her getting to know her own yard and figuring out what to do all by herself.
At first she was not a happy camper. But with TV, computer games, email, and even reading coming only available after her 15 minutes, she let down her defenses and went out. Taking the dog with her was a good idea, non-human company.
I sense it was a good call on my part. My wife wouldn't of ever noticed it or thought it important, but since I did she went along with the plan.
Welcome to Your Front Yard.