How to Get Them to Walk (Part 1)
“But how do you get them to walk?” This is something I am frequently asked by other parents when we exchange stories about weekends and holidays and I tell them about our walks. “I’d love to do a walk like that with my children, but it’s just not possible!” they say. My standard answer is that it’s almost certainly possible with a bit of determination and imagination.
But first, let’s dispel the myths that children are always biddable and that everything is always perfect. In the real world, it can be really hard to get out of the house, but most people manage to get their children to school and themselves to work, no matter how much resistance they encounter. You, after all, are the grown-up, and if you are determined to get everyone to go for a walk, then it will happen!
So, assuming you’re suitably determined, what you need next is a bit of imagination, because that is how you are going to make the children want to go for this walk. How you do this depends on your children, but one method that works for us is to avoid referring to it solely as a walk, and instead to emphasise an exciting feature of it. This is a feature that will allow you can sell the idea to the children: you are not ‘going for a walk’; you are going somewhere, or to see something, or to do something.
You are ‘going on an adventure’; you are ‘going bug-hunting’ or ‘butterfly-hunting’; you are ‘going to fly a kite’; you are ‘going to stomp through the autumn leaves’; you are ‘going to the beach’; and so on. Easter is brilliant: you can tell the children that you are ‘going on an Easter Egg hunt’ every day for a whole fortnight.
As there will almost certainly be some food involved, you can always tell the children you are ‘going on a picnic’. This might sound like a huge exaggeration, but we’ve never yet had any complaints, even if it’s just some flapjacks or a slice of cake.
So, have I convinced you that, with a bit of determination and imagination, it’s perfectly possible to get the children to go for that walk?
About the Author
About Me & Mine
Hi there! Helen and Ian here from the Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border! We have two boys who love everything in the Great Outdoors (especially sticks), and a border collie who also loves everything in the Great Outdoors (especially tennis balls). We also have a toddler daughter who is fiercely independent and proving to be just as intrepid as her brothers.
Favourite place in the world:
A difficult one... There are so many wonderful places to choose from... But it has to be Sandwood Bay in the far north-west of Scotland which can only be reached by a 4-mile walk. Last time we went it was a full-on winter mountaineering experience (with ice axe and crampons!) just to get there. Wild and windswept, it's totally unspoilt.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Enjoy beaches, woods, and coastal paths; explore waterways in our open canoe; go for a big day out on a small hill; go rock climbing; collect sticks, conkers, and acorns; investigate puddles and rockpools; ride our tandem; fly a kite against a clear blue sky.