Nature Walking Your Child and Benefits

Walking with a child daily is super simple, yet incredibly impactful way of spending time outdoors daily with your child. 

Let’s consider the benefits the child might gain by spending time outside by going on a child’s walk throughout their childhood.

  • Being outside is good for the child’s physical health as they are getting some exercise and the child will also be soaking up vitamin D.
  • It’s good for the child’s emotional health as well.
  • In addition to these, the child will begin to have a sense of appreciation for nature and its beauty and hopefully eventually will have a little bit of responsibility in their character.

Benefits of Walking Your Child

So that as adults they will have a sense of responsibility that they have to do their part in taking care of the environment for future generations. 

The Child will gain a lot more development benefits which will be seen much more immediately. They will have lots of opportunities for sensory exploration. This time outside will be a big boon for their gross motor skills and fine motor skills not to mention it will be great for their creativity, problem solving capacity, independence and also confidence. 

Read on How to Make your Kid Smart

Ways to Conduct ‘Walking Your Child’

Let the child be-

The first thing that we should keep in mind is that it’s the child’s walk. As adults, we are focused on our goals and focus on the end product like finishing the walk on time, ticking off one thing off our to do list, whereas for the child’s it’s about the process.

For them, it’s about the journey, it’s about the walk itself. They could care less about getting home on time. So adult must try to be more present in the moment with the child. This also means that the walk needs to be at the child’s pace which might be agonizingly slow. But let them take the lead and direct how fast you are going and where you are stopping. Try not to hurry them, without reason but you might have to gently guide them along if they are stuck at some place for too long as at some point you will need to finish the walk.

Initiate a conversation-

Engage with the child in little conversations every now and then about whatever it is that the child finds interesting. However, you should not be hovering over them and commenting on every single thing that the child’s doing during the walk. Strike a balance between interacting with the child and letting the child explore independently. 

Occasionally you could point out the details to the child, as they might not have the life experiences yet to be thinking about them. 

For example, if it’s a partly cloudy day and the sun has suddenly gone behind clouds and it’s not quite bright as it was. You might comment on that saying – ‘Oh! It’s got a little darker. I think the sun just went behind the clouds’

Or if you happen to see something interesting like a beautiful flower that the child has not noticed, you can bring the child’s attention to it and point out some details. It’s not necessary to do this during the entire walk, but, on occasions, here and there, it will be nice to do these things. Eventually the child will begin to investigate things a little bit closer by themselves. This way they will hone their own observation skills. 

Read on – Cognitive Skills – Meaning, Importance and How to Improve in Children

Collect/Learn new things-

You might take along a small bucket or a bag or basket for the walk. Children love to collect things from nature like a pebble or an interesting leaf. So you can have a basket to keep the treasures that they wish to take home with them without crushing them in your pocket.

You should have a limit though as to how many things they can collect and maybe not collect stuff every single time. You could explain to the child that if everyone would be collecting stuff on their daily walks eventually there would be nothing left for anyone else to enjoy. As an alternative you could snap a picture of the treasure. 

Something else to consider would be to vary the type of terrains you are covering, during the walks. Instead of sticking to the same path daily, you can try to change the routes say you could have your walk on a beach occasionally. Having experience with different terrains would be beneficial for them as they have to deal with different things at each of these places. There’s lots of different possibilities when they are exploring different terrains. 

Dress up according to the weather-

When it comes to the weather, there’s a popular saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. This is definitely true and we need to dress the child, according to the weather in the area you live.

The point is not to limit a child’s walk to only the days you have nice weather. It’s good for the child to experience a little bit of the incoming weather. To feel the raindrops on their face, to feel the wind going through their hair at a much more brisk pace than perhaps they are used to. 

So be open minded about the weather and dress the child accordingly, which brings me to the next point. Make sure that whatever you are dressing them is something that you don’t mind them getting dirty in. You could set aside a few outfits to be worn exclusively for these short walks.

Children have an innate desire to get dirty with nature, they want to dig their fingernails in the mud and squish mud between their fingers and toes. They definitely want to go stomping on the giant water puddle that you were going to walk by. It will ruin the mood during the walk if you are constantly going to say no to avoid the dress getting ruined. You want the child to explore to their hearts content so dress them accordingly. 

Ensure Safety–

Safety is top priority. Prevent your child from anything that is gravely injurious, though within reason try not to micromanage every single thing they are doing during the walk. Children love to constantly challenge themselves, especially when it comes to physical skills.

So they always choose to take the hardest or difficult path possible every time they see a choice lying before them. It’s something that you must expect and once you are expecting it you can be ready to ensure that they are safe.

Be near so that you are ready just in case, but otherwise they are doing it on their own. Because that is how they are going to gain confidence. 

You can start these walks with your child as soon as the child is able to walk. Start small initially and gradually you can increase the length of the walks.

Happy Parenting!

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Maria JosephAn experienced montessori trained teacher who loves to play with children, eat chocolates, watch the rain, watch movies and to read.

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