Want better talks with your kids? Take them outside.

Research shows that conversations in nature might help families connect. Here’s why—and how you can get started.

There’s something about hiking in the mountains near his home in Santa Fe that really gets 12-year-old Henry Van Bibber talking. Time on the trails with his mom and dad is often filled with an endless stream of chatter in which Henry free-associates about his dream home or his ideal video game. But sometimes the topics of conversation go deeper.

Last summer, for instance, the family talked about the Black Lives Matter movement and racial inequality. Recently, during a hike on his favorite trail, Henry revealed that he was feeling anxious about starting a new middle school and making new friends.

“In the past we’ve mostly had conversations about stuff he was hearing on the news or seeing on TV,” says Henry’s dad, Ryan Van Bibber. “But this was like a true window into his day-to-day person—who he is and the issues that affect him.”

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