Una Mamma Green is an Italian journalist, author and mum of two.
She writes about environmental sustainability, parenthood, culture and travelling
It can happen on countryside walks or on holiday in the city, to make a little effort to convince children to walk more. Succeeding in the business, however, is not impossible: just exercise a little more patience, together with some simple tricks that make the walk more fun for young and older children.
Children often refuse to walk, not because they are really tired, but only because they are bored. Giving them “small goals” can encourage them to move forward, turning a simple walk into a kind of adventure. You do not need great efforts of imagination, just divide the path into intermediate stages, encouraging the child to reach the big tree at the end of the path, the bench where to stop and having a snack, or if you are in holiday the fountain to quench their thirst, a square with an ice cream shop where they can be awarded for the effort. The path will be completed in this way without great effort, and without the little lazy one realizing its actual distance.
Turning the walk into a game
One of the tricks to convince children to walk more is to turn the walk into a kind of game: follow an imaginary or real line, hop on one foot on an imaginary chess pavement, hold you balance by walking on the edge of a wall. Every occasion is good to stimulate children to play and have fun, continuing on the journey without even realizing it.
Sing and tell stories
The goal is always the same: to distract the children so that they do not complain of boredom and tiredness when there is walking to be done. Singing a song or a nursery rhyme together, or telling fairy tales or old family stories is a classic way of convincing children to walk more.
Looking around for children is always an opportunity for wonder and discovery. For this reason, to convince children to walk more, you can encourage them to look for certain elements in the landscape (a yellow leaf, a ladybird, a purple flower, a ant, a white stone, etc.), or engage in small competitions to whom first sight a number of objects or colors. In addition to passing time faster and convincing the doubtful child, this simple experiment will be the opportunity to exercise concentration and train the senses (you can also stimulate the sense of smell, looking for things).
Do not forget a supply of goodies
Especially for a day out in the countryside or when you are travelling, and you are walking more than usual, it may be worth giving children a goody incentive: a bunch of sweets or a snack to nibble along the walk can make the journey easier, and put to silence any complaints.
Seeing is believing.