Written by Natalya Ganchina M. Ed.
One of the biggest problems in parenting is that there is never enough time! Between school, transportation, meals, and extracurriculars, when can you fit in family activities?
The best way to combat this problem is to build activities in to the everyday routine. One example is walking. As we have discussed, walking is a great way for parents and children to spend time together. And remember, quantity is not quality. Unless your family loves to walk for hours, even five or ten minutes is enough for the whole family to enjoy the physical, emotional, and creative benefits.
Here are a few ideas for building mindful walking into your family’s routine:
- Take a different path to the bus stop in the morning
Henry David Thoreau mentioned that, “An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day”. Try it and you will see that walking in the morning will change how you approach your day. Wherever you walk to, if it’s the train station or the bus pick up, walk on different streets and get to know your neighborhood.
- Park further away and walk after school
If you are picking up your child from school or from a school bus, do not rush home. Park your car little bit further and take just a five minute walk. Five minutes will not change much unless you are not late to the activities.
- Make walking the last thing you do before you enter the home
If you child has a tight schedule, you can take a walk after their evening classes, before going home. It will refresh your child’s mind and give you a chance to catch up after a busy day. And as a bonus, it will help them focus when they have to do homework later.
- Take a break from TV and social media
Sometimes you just need a break from the digital noise. Take ten minutes from that time and take a walk with your child. Remind yourself about the many good things in the outside world, and talk about it.
- Try a bedtime stroll
Just several minutes of walking before going to the bed can improve sleep for you and your child. You don’t have to walk far, just down the road and back, or around the block. A moment of fresh air and talk of sweet dreams makes bedtime all the easier.
- Make walking a weekend activity
If you can, take a trip to nearest forest or beach, or mountain. Enjoy nature and a few hours of time away from the stress of home, work, and the internet. It’s the perfect time to connect with your child. Those memories will remain with your family for the rest of your lives.
- Walk in any weather
There is no bad weather – there are only inappropriate clothes. If you can buy weather-friendly clothes for yourself and your child, you’ll be able to spend time outside no matter the weather: rain, shine, snow, heat, and humidity. No more excuses!
Odds are, at least one of these suggestions works for your busy schedule. If not, think about where in your schedule there are those five or ten minutes to walk outside with your child. If it is important to you, you can find time to do it. Take a walk and enjoy every minute that you can spend with your child today.