Exercise can be one of the best ways to forge good habits in your child’s life. But sometimes academics, family emergencies, or injuries mean the team sports route is not an option. Instead of forgoing exercise, which can disrupt a good sleep schedule, is the worst plan. Staying active is incredibly important for young people to stay happy and motivated. But for the days where the rain has cancelled practice, or a broken arm in a cast, means there’s seemingly “not much to do”, a long walk can be the best use of their time.
Sure a two hour walk can be just the thing they need to ensure a restful sleep, but that’s not going to motivate a 10 year old to persevere through a four mile trek. But not to worry, there are plenty of ways to make a long walk more fun for everyone, and before you know it, you’re done.
First things first, shoes with a proper fit will lessen any potential blisters or twisted ankles that put an immediate end to the fun. Now that you can safely jaunt, why not make a portion of your walk into a game of eye spy. Using a bit of height you can spot a tree or building they can’t see yet, as your target. As you walk, the guessing will make the steps fly by, just be sure to give the odd hint to help the guessing along before you pass the spot.
Short races to the end of a fence, “to see if you’re the fastest” can be a great way to add a sprint to your walk and get the blood pumping. Additional challenges like tagging each side of the path as you go will add small goals along the route and extend the overall length of your journey.
You can also make a list of collectables for the walk. The search for 5 acorns, 2 conkers and an untorn dry leaf are a great way to distract from tired feet. The apparently simple search for just two identical rocks can occupy a child for hours, just be sure to call off the search before dark.
Have fun on your walk, and don’t worry if the first one is short. This is the type of exercise that gets easier as you do more.