15 playful ways to get children to walk


When our kids first learn to walk, they may be so determined it’s hard to stop them. However once the novelty wears off there may be moments when we’re on our way somewhere and they get grumpy, whiney and don’t want to walk.

Sometimes it could be that they’re just genuinely tired. At other times they may simply get bored. Walking in a straight line can be pretty boring for a child! It could also be that they are feeling disconnected,  or are experiencing upset feelings. They may start telling us about their feelings through being grumpy and whiney, and wanting to be carried.

Ariadne Brill of Positive Parenting Connection shared with me that we can become aware of when children are using the movement from the walk as a means of letting us know they need to be listened to. Sometimes we can use stay-listening to help them through these difficult moments. At other times laughter and play-listening will seem more appropriate.

If we need to get somewhere, and our child just doesn’t want to walk, or we are physically exhausted and just can’t carry them anymore, a little bit of play can help give children the burst of energy they need to keep going. Some of these tips can be used for when you just want to get home from the supermarket. Others can help everyone enjoy family hikes in the countryside. Repeat each one as long as the giggles are flowing, and you are going in roughly the right direction!

  1. Mummy limpet and baby limpet – In this game. We pretend we are the mummy or daddy limpet, and our child is the baby limpet. We tell our child in a playful tone that they must stay stuck to us the whole time and we really hope that they don’t get unstuck and run away. This is the ideal invitation for them to do just that. We can chase after them saying, ”oh no! My limpet’s running away, I need to catch her and get stuck again.” We can also play when we get unstuck from our child, and go forward a metre or two. We can then call out to our child, ”Oh no, I got unstuck! Quick catch up with me!”
  2. Runaway Buggy – Exercise keeps me sane and as we live in the countryside, I like to go on a walk most days. I have encouraged my daughter out of the house by taking a buggy where she can sit and eat snacks. Eventually she gets bored and actually wants to walk. Sometimes she needs a bit of persuasion, so we play runaway buggy, and I ask for her help to chase it.

To read the full article and view video, do visit http://www.handinhandparenting.org.

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