Al Fresco Parenting

(Parenting In the Open Air)

If you are just joining us, I would like to invite you to read our introduction to this series.  It explains in further detail what is going on and why we are using these foreign titles to describe certain types or techniques of parenting.

Parenting al fresco meaning in the open air is a way to keep your relationships with your children alive and thriving.  Am I suggesting you live in a tree house like the Swiss Family Robinson?  Not entirely, though something similar and on a smaller scale would be quite fun.

Planning activities for you and your children to enjoy together bring about many opportunities to share quality time and even meaningful conversations together.

Here are a few suggestions to get your mind thinking of how to parent in the open air.

  • Flying kites
  • Riding bikes
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Target shooting
  • Going to the park
  • Frisbee golfing

We have incorporated outdoor family activities as a major part of building healthy relationships with our children.  In keeping in mind with taking every opportunity to teach a lesson and learning is everywhere; here are some examples of how we can take our parenting al fresco.

During the windy months, we often fly kites.  This has been a hobby of my husband’s since before we were married.  He carried a kite in his trunk and would get it out as often as he could.  Now we carry several kites with us everywhere we go.

How does kite flying build relationships with our children?

Daddy has many opportunities to “help” younger, less experienced, kite flyers.  Mommy takes lots of pictures of Daddy with his arms lovingly wrapped around the waist of those little ones while he is whispering (sometimes yelling depending on the noise of the wind) encouraging instructions in their ear.

Sorry it is a little blurry.
The younger ones get to listen to Daddy’s instruction in a whole different setting than indoors or at home.  They learn to listen and obey simple commands and are learning to trust Daddy’s voice and love him more and more.  This is preparation for them learning to listen to their Heavenly Father’s voice.

The same can be applied to the older children as well, though the kite flying experience is more advanced and the lessons much larger.

Laughter takes place!  This one giggles with delight at their accomplishments and we all laugh when the wind catches one off his guard and he takes a tumble.  We laugh as Daddy or the older ones learn the skill of steering their stunt kites by chasing a sibling with the kite!

We always talk about how magnificent God’s creation is during these times and that opens a plethora of discussions.  Sometimes it is just to appreciate the beauty He created for us.  Sometimes it goes deeper to the point of finding out why God put us on this earth.

Some families would prefer camping or some other outdoor activity to kite flying.  The key to al fresco parenting is to plan it and make it happen, whatever the activity would be.  You may even have to try several activities before you land on the one everyone likes best.

Building relationships with our children in the open air is how relationships were first built.  It seems Adam and God walked and talked in the garden on a regular basis. In Genesis 3:8 it reads, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden”.  Admittedly this verse depicts the beginning of a division in their relationship, but for the sake of this article, I am focusing on where the relationship first took place.

Al fresco parenting may include challenges in your relationship with your children, but it also provides a positive environment to work through those challenges.

Pack your bags and take a family get away or just load up the bicycles and take a bike ride.  Make it a family affair and bind together the chords of family ties!  Take your relationship a step further by taking it in the open air.

What outdoor activities do you enjoy with your children?

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All Photo Credits: Our daughter "K"
Parenting A La Mode Intro
Parenting Summa cum Laude
Parenting Faux Pas
Parenting Laissez-faire (non-interference)
Parenting en Rapport

1 comment:

Susan Brown said...

Great thoughts on spending time with children. Every moment can be a valuable character building learning experience. Parenting with purpose makes life meaningful and rewarding. I've always enjoyed kite flying...the experience is very relaxing.