What I’m really talking about here is finding your best, most loved local walking hang for you and your littles, and using it. For us, this is somewhere we go for a good hour long walk a few times a week, that’s familiar and comfortable. Somewhere nearby that takes very little effort to get the kids ready to go. We probably have it slightly easier as we have two dogs that we need to take out for walks every day so we have more of a drive to get out. However, what I aim to do here is showcase some of the benefits it can have for both parent and child if you do venture outdoors a little more.
- It’s FREE!!! Isn’t that just music to the ears of the single income household?
- It really is good for the soul! The mental health charity ‘Mind’ found that a massive 71% reported decreased levels of depression after taking a green walk, the same percentage also reported that their stress levels and tension were also reduced! I found these statistics astonishing and it made me beg the question ‘why aren’t more people doing this then? As someone who suffers with anxiety, I’ve personally found that these trails have made a world of difference. The days we walk are my better days, and the knock on effect from that can be huge for me. If you want to read more about ‘Mind’s’ research into this, the link is here https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/go-green-to-beat-the-blues/#.WYx5XCMrLoA
- It provides great stimulus for little ones. The sensory elements of being outdoors just cannot be beaten elsewhere. The sound of birds tweeting, running their fingers through the grass, smelling flowers, tasting berries the list is endless. It’s helped H tune into his surroundings more and understand the world more clearly, without just watching it on a screen. He is getting solid hands on experience.
- The outdoors is also a great stimulus for us, the parents. It gets my brain out of that tired, mushy mess that can’t compute and instead wakes me up and refreshes me.
- It also provides me with creative stimulus and encourages me to create activities that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought of doing with H. Anything from nature collages to painting stones we’ve collected. It just helps me to fulfil our days more organically and easily.
- Fitness and health. This is an obvious one I know, but it has certainly helped me shift my baby weight. Plus, H’s stamina is amazing for an under 2 year old! He has been walking reasonable distances from about the age of 13 months old, and we have gradually got him to the point where he can manage a few kilo-meter walks without the moans setting in. It’s also a great stepping-stone towards a healthier lifestyle as he gets older because it has become the norm for him.
I’m saving the best till last here…
- It tires him out!! H’s afternoon naps have been much improved since walking regularly, and because he’s then not getting overtired, he’s sleeping more soundly at night
The main thing for me is that it quite simply, helps! Parenting is one of the most challenging roles out there, and particularly as a stay at home mum I’ve had moments where I’ve felt really quite low and lonely, and getting out with H has done just that… helped! If via this blog just one other parent finds a way to make their day run a little smoother, then it’s served it purpose.
It would be great to hear about your local toddler trails and what benefits you find from getting your little ones outdoors?
As always, thanks for reading and happy toddling…