Taking a walk with the family can be a healthy experience, both physically and mentally. One potential drawback could be that your kids aren’t as thrilled with the notion. The idea is to make this time together more exciting and valuable, for everyone involved. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Begin with a goal or purpose. It makes sense to plan for activities during or after the walk. Does your neighborhood or community have an ice cream or doughnut shop? What about playgrounds, parks or nature trails? Try planning a picnic, a hike or a trip to the playground. Stop for ice cream or other treats along the way. Are there lakes, ponds, streams or waterfalls nearby? If so, go fishing or take the family to play in the water. If your children know there are fun activities planned along the way, they are much more likely to get involved.

Keep it interesting! Your children probably don’t want to discuss your day at work or plans you have around the house this weekend. If your children enjoy the outdoors and nature, then maybe a trail hike or bird-watching would motivate them. If they are more into history or architecture, a historical monument or district in your city would be a great place to visit. Some topics can be as simple as the weather, clouds or what happened during their day. Ask your children if they have any ideas for a family walk and listen to what they say. Remember, keep it interesting for them!

Create a scavenger hunt. Try using landmarks, signs, cars, birds, trees or colors that can be found along your intended route. Be sure to include hidden and hard to find objects. Not all items should be found on the first family outing! Spice up your list by adding text and images cut from newspapers and magazines. This type of activity will also encourage your children to be aware of their surroundings, while still having fun!

Take your dog(s) for a walk. If you have a dog, include them in your family walks. Your children are more likely to participate when you bring their pet(s) along for the activity. It simply makes it more fun! If you don’t have a dog… go buy one or borrow the neighbor’s dog. Many of us already treat our dogs as a member of the family. Why not include them in your family walks? Just be sure to know your local pet laws and keep them safe. Your kids will love the idea, and it could even lead to a small dog walking business! If you have a cat or hamster, I recommend that you get a dog.

While some of these ideas may seam insignificant, silly or easily overlooked to you and I, the mind of a child sees and remembers things much differently. Take time to “ stop and smell the roses”. Don’t be in a rush to “get it done”. You will one day look back and wish you had “just one more day ” to walk with, talk with and have the attention of your children. They do grow up quickly and take on a life of their own. Give them something valuable to use when they have children of their own. Don’t look back and “wish you would have”, look back and “be glad you did”!

– Tiny House America