Roughhousing Inspiration To Help Your Child Sleep In Their Own Bed

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This looks like a cosy scene! But if co-sleeping isn’t working for you, or if your child has fears or anxieties that come up in a need to be close to you at night, you might want to help them work through those feelings before deciding what sleeping arrangement works for you in the long run.

I’ve blogged about this in detail before in Why I Helped My Daughter Feel Safe To Fall Asleep Alone. Now here is a fun game that I call ‘The Bed Door’ to build closer connections even as you help your child to sleep in their own bed.

You might want to play this with comfy cushions or a mattress on the floor next to your child’s bed.

You might want to snuggle up with your child, and read a few bedtime stories with them in their bed. Start the routine earlier than normal to give you some time to play. Then when it’s time for sleep, tell them that you hope they will stay in their bed, in an inviting playful tone, that actually suggests to them the possibility of getting out of bed.

Then you become the ‘bed door.’ You try to block your chid from getting out of bed, in a playful way. Put up some resistance, but don’t use force and overpower your child. The key is to always let your child win, but feel like it was a bit of a challenge. Go for what brings the giggles. After resisting for a while let your child escape. Act all frustrated and playfully exasperated to get them laughing! And repeat!

Last night we played this and my daughter and I invented all sorts of different powers. I would have the ‘grabber power’ where I would use my hands to grab her, and then she would be so strong that she would escape. Then I would have ‘lock’ power and my arms would lock around her to try and lift her back into the bed. Then the arms would make a ‘mistake’ and accidentally unlock. I would act all annoyed with the arms and say, ”hey! Come on arms, you are meant to lock not unlock!”

My daughter would have ‘strength power’ where she would be strong enough to knock me over. I would have ‘rolling power’ When I would wrap her up in a duvet and try and roll her back in the bed. We had many variations and really got each other laughing with our new power ideas. When you try this, follow where your mind takes you and see what makes your child laugh.

The aim of the game is always to ‘try’ to get your child back into bed in a fun way, and to use resistance but not force. It should be played when you are in a good mood and aren’t feeling time pressed. If you struggle to find the patience, you might need some listening time before trying.

In the end we were too tired to continue and it felt like the right moment to stop.  My daughter ‘won’ and fell asleep in my bed. But we have played similar games before which I blogged about here, when she’s then been happy to sleep in her own bed.

I hope you enjoy this game! I’d love to hear how you get on in the comments below.

Have you added giggles to your bedtime routine yet? Here’s why they are key to a good night’s sleep. 

For more info about listening time check out How Telling Your Life Story Can Transform Your Parenting 

For in-depth help with all your sleep challenges check out Hand in Hand parenting’s self-study online course, Helping Young Children Sleep

Two Tiny Hands
Cuddle Fairy
Diary of an imperfect mum

Giggle Parenting Inspiration – Teeth Brushing School

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Our child’s natural state of being is to co-operate with us. And one of their number one ways to tell us they are feeling disconnected is to refuse to do something. Refusing to clean teeth seems to be one of the most common ways! So here is yet another fun teeth cleaning game.

My daughter has been role-playing a lot of classes lately. She goes to ballet class and art class and I know she’s thinking a lot about starting Kindergarten in August.

When she didn’t want to clean her teeth the other day, I started joking around about how it was time to go to her ‘teeth cleaning class.’ Then I got a cuddly rabbit who was the teacher. Except the rabbit would say things like, ”okay to clean your teeth you need to take your toothbrush and hide it under the duvet.” She would laugh a lot, and go and hide her toothbrush. Then I would act all frustrated with the rabbit and say, ”Rabbit! That’s not how we clean teeth, you need to tell R to put the brush in her mouth.”  Rabbit said all sorts of crazy things like you, need to hide in your room and shut the door, or you need to go and put your toothbrush in your shoe, or you need to put a sock on your toothbrush, and then put it in your coat pocket. The more crazy the situation the better! I would act all exasperated and  complain about what a terrible teacher he was.

After lots of laughter she was much more connected and her natural desire to co-operate was back.

Do you need more help with teeth-cleaning? Check out Giggle Parenting For Teeth-Cleaning and Emilie Leek’s article Using The Tools To Help With Teeth Cleaning has lots of suggestions and links. 

Giggle Parenting For Grumpiness

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If your child wakes up on the wrong side of bed, or gets whiney or grumpy it can be a sign of upset feelings under the surface that are causing them to feel disconnected.

Here’s a fun giggle parenting game to playfully add connection and shift your child’s mood. Put some music on if you’re at home, and pretend to phone someone up to order some ‘dancing energy’ for your child. Tell the person on the phone your child’s name.

Then start dancing across the room. Act all out of control, as if you can’t stop yourself from dancing. In a playfully frustrated voice tell your child, ”oh no! They’ve sent the dancing energy to me. This is not right!”

Phone back up, and complain to the person on the phone in a playfully grumpy voice. ”Hey you have sent the dancing energy to the wrong person. Please don’t send it to me, send it to (insert child’s name.” Spell out your child’s name to add emphasis.

Repeat with the person on the phone making all kinds of mistakes. They can send you crab energy, which makes you walk sideways. Or climbing energy, that gets you climbing on the sofa or table, as you frustratedly phone up the person to stop them from sending you the energy and try to send it to your child instead.

As your child laughs, their mood will shift, and the rest of the day should go much more smoothly.

Cracking The Parenting Code

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Before becoming a parent I had many questions. How could I bring up my child to be happy and well-adjusted when at least 1-4 adults will have a mental health problem in their life? How could I ensure that she wouldn’t have to spend her adulthood trying to recover from her childhood?

After becoming a mum my list got much longer. Why is my child crying when I have met all her needs? Why is she not sleeping through the night? Why is every parenting book telling me something different? If I want to be a peaceful parent how on earth can I get my daughter to ‘behave’ if I’m just nice to her all the time?

Then I discovered Hand in Hand parenting. I must admit that since then my capacity for reading parenting books and articles is seriously diminished. I don’t spend all night scouring the web trying to find solutions to my problems.

Instead now I have internalised a simple universal code that I can apply to almost any situation. Here it is:

  • Children are born naturally, joyful, loving and co-operative. They don’t want to try our patience with challenging behaviour.
  • Children will be their naturally loving selves, when they feel well-connected to the adults around them.
  • When children experience stress and upset they often feel disconnected from us even when we are right there with them. Cue lots of off-track behaviour to try and reconnect with us (so-called ‘attention seeking’).
  • We can help our children release their upset feelings with laughter and play. Laughter causes a reduction in stress hormones in the body, and promotes endorphin release. When children feel better they will behave ‘better.’ (Giggle Parenting)
  • We can listen to our children’s emotional upsets. Tears have stress hormones in, so we shouldn’t try to stop them. They are nature’s way of healing and restoring emotional equilibrium. (Staylistening)
  • We can set limits on behaviour that allow room to empathise and listen to our child’s tears, or laughter.
  • Special time, (1-1 time spent with our child doing something they love is a powerful way for children to soak up a deep sense of connection to us and prevent ‘misbehaviour.’

Okay, so that’s the code you need for bringing up happy kids!

However, there is one thing that makes applying this code a little challenging and that’s our own feelings. Few of us were brought up by parents who listened to us and understand that there were emotional reasons behind our behaviour. Every day, I still struggle at times to apply this simple code.

That’s why we also need to apply this code to ourselves. To know that when we aren’t the parent we want to be, it’s because we have upset feelings clouding our thinking. To get support so we have somewhere to take our thoughts and feelings, to get them out, so we can get back to ‘behaving well’ with our child. Listening time is a tool to support us to be the parents we want to be.

You can learn more about how to apply this code by checking out the archives on my blog. Hand in Hand’s online Parenting By Connection Starter Class also helps as you can learn and connect with other parents to get the listening you need.

Have you got a parenting challenge you’d like to crack with this parenting code? Leave me a comment or contact me via facebook, and your challenge could be the subject of my next blog post! 

Cuddle Fairy
Two Tiny Hands

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Roughhousing Inspiration – Pillow Shop

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Roughhousing, or rough and tumble play is not just good fun. It’s a great way to build close connections with your child, and to help them to feel good, emotionally and physically. It’s also the perfect opportunity for some giggle parenting.

If your child has been grumpy, whiney, aggressive or acting off-track in any way, chances are roughhousing can help to release the stress and upset that causes their ‘misbehaviour.’

In The Art of Roughhousing Lawrence Cohen and Anthony Benedet share some of the amazing science that shows it’s benefits.”Play—especially active physical play, like roughhousing—makes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, loveable and likeable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful.”

Research has shown that roughhousing helps children develop empathy and that the amount of roughhousing children engage in actually determines how well they do in Kindergarten. So throw that homework in the bin and get giggling 😉

Just as with giggle parenting (playlistening) we want to make sure that we give our children the upper hand. When we roughhouse we should use our intuition to put up some resistance but let our child win in the end. There’s nothing more fun for them as they triumphantly giggle after pushing us over, or escaping our grasp. This is why with roughhousing we should never tickle as this makes children feel powerless.

One of the biggest myths is that roughhousing is just for boys. Girls need this play just as much. They need to build confidence in their bodies, and get a chance to feel their strength.

Roughhousing is perfect for bedtime to help encourage sleep. But having an impromptu session earlier in the day can be helpful particularly if your child is having lots of behavioural challenges, and lots of feelings to work through.

Sometimes it can be tricky to know how to get started, so this is the first in a series of post to share fun games to inspire you.

Pillow Shop 

Gather together all the pillows you own, and put them in a stack on your bed. Tell your child, in an inviting playful tone, that this is your pillow shop and it’s shut today. Tell them you hope they don’t try to come in and get pillows. Lean on the pillows, so that they have to wrestle you for them. Put up some resistance and then let your child grab pillows from under you and run away with them. Chase them, and let them escape. Go for whatever brings the most giggles while they remain in the powerful role.

We had a lot of fun playing this game. At one point my daughter was lying with her head on the big stack of pillows. I would act all playfully frustrated and say in an exasperated tone that she couldn’t try out the pillows, then I would grab one from under her head, and then act all surprised when I saw that she was still lying on the next pillow. I would repeat and repeat. Next I had some cuddly toys be the pillow shop ‘guarders’ and they would stand at the entrance to the shop and try and block her way. But she would always win.

You can build your child’s confidence giggle by giggle. I hope these lead onto many fun roughhousing ‘moves’ of your own, and if you have any games to share I’d love to hear from you!

To follow along and get regular roughhousing games delivered to your inbox sign up to follow my blog using the button in the top right hand corner. The Art of Roughhousing:  is also packed full of inspiration.

Giggle Parenting To Help Your Child Fall Asleep In Their Own Bed

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I think that as parents we should find the sleeping arrangement that works best for our family. There’s no right or wrong, and whether you co-sleep or have your child in their own room, (or make any other parenting choice for that matter!) you can do Hand in Hand parenting in the way that works for your family.

We have been a co-sleeping family and also had phases when my daughter slept in her own room because she chose to. Now she sleeps in a bed next to ours in our room. It just seemed to work out that way. She’s been sleeping in her own bed since she was 18 months old. She actually embraced having her own bed and was happy falling asleep in there until February this year.

One night before she had to go to the doctor for a blood test she got really clingy and wanted to fall asleep in my bed. Ever since then she’s fallen asleep in my bed. I’d be totally happy with her falling asleep cuddled up next to me, except for the fact that I know it’s because she’s still got some feelings (perhaps about the blood test, perhaps about earlier hurts from being a baby that got triggered when she went to the doctor etc.)

So a few weeks ago I wrote this blog post about how I staylistened to my daughter’s feelings to help her through the fears, and get comfortable falling asleep alone. But, she was still falling asleep in my bed! I still hadn’t got her comfortable to fall asleep in her own bed.

The funny thing is my daughter will fall asleep in her own bed, but only if my husband puts her to bed. This kind of inconsistency, is a sure sign that she is trying to ‘tell’ me about these feelings, because I am the parent that uses the Hand in Hand parenting tools the most to build emotional safety (as I talked about in this post here.)

One of my issues is that my daughter is a night owl, and likes to go to bed around 9.30 ish. This has been her natural rhythm for her entire life so far, and my attempts to shift her sleep pattern never worked. I also like to go to bed at this time, and I’m often pretty exhausted by then, so it’s been a struggle to work on this emotional project consistently.

A few nights ago I got some listening time, and I ended up actually asking my listening partner for advice! This is not really what we usually do in listening time, but as my listening partner is also a Hand in Hand parenting instructor I was looking for a fresh perspective. Even though I’m a Hand in Hand instructor, it’s often my own parenting issues that are the most challenging, because my own emotions exhaustion, tiredness etc, often get in the way.

My listening partner suggested that I get into bed with my daughter, and then slowly leave her there, or that I could set a limit, and gentle move her into her own bed while staylistening if necessary. Well it kind of turned out that way!

When I finished my listening time my daughter was in her own bed, just about to fall asleep, but when she was me she immediately wanted to come into her own bed. I was feeling energised from my listening time, and it had also helped to talk with my partner and get new ideas.

So I immediately moved towards the gap between our beds and said, ‘’I’m the door of the bed, and I’m staying shut!’’ Then she started trying to get by either side of me, and wrestled to climb over me.

I let her jump into my bed, and then acted all playfully exasperated that she had climbed over. Then I told her ‘’I’m the door, and I’m coming to put you back.’’ Being playful meant it didn’t seem so ‘forceful’ to physically move her into her own bed. I playfully picked her up and put her in her bed, and then I ‘shut’ the door again. We repeated this a few times as she wrestled and laughed. At one point she ran around the beds instead to avoid the door, which really made her laugh.

Then she said she was tired, and I asked if she could get into her own bed, and I’d cuddle her for a bit. She agreed straight away and fell asleep quickly and easily. The next day she woke up in a great mood even though she’d fallen asleep later than usual.

Now, for some parents, myself included, we can often feel a little strange, about enforcing a separation from our child. We can worry that this may give our child the wrong message, that we are not available for closeness.

But it’s actually the opposite. By noticing those moments when our child is clingy, we can actually become closer together by playing with the idea of distance. I felt a lot more closely connected to my daughter, when we wrestling and laughing together, than I do when she’s clinging to me, taking ages to fall asleep because she’s still tense because there are feelings she hasn’t released that get in the way of her being able to let go and fall asleep.

So if your child is taking a long time to fall asleep at night, or is showing signs of being tense or disconnected, then try having some fun getting them to sleep in their own bed.

 Are you struggling with parenting and looking for a fresh perspective? I have a Parenting By Connection Starter Class beginning next Wednesday at 8pm Central European TIme, (7pm UK Time, 11am Pacific time).

Giggle Parenting For No Reason

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A lot of my giggle parenting posts have focused on using laughter to deal with specific family challenges. Although this is a great way to apply the giggles, it’s also worth bearing in mind that of course we can laugh and have fun with our children for completely ‘no reason.’

Today I went down to the cellar with my daughter to hang up some wet washing. There were some dry towels and other clothes hanging up. As I hung up the wet stuff, I told my daughter in a playfully serious voice, ”okay, I really don’t want you to pull down that towel.”

She immediately yanked down the towel, then went to pull down a pair of trousers. I chased her around putting things back up, and acting playfully exasperated. It became a race for her to pull things down, and for me to put them back up. We had lots of fun and laughter. (by the way, the cellar floor is immaculate so I wasn’t worried about the clean washing getting dirty! And there were only a few things she was able to reach, most were too high up)

Now you might be thinking, why on earth would I encourage my child to pull down clean washing and dump it on the floor? What sort of parenting lesson does that send?

Well time and time again I’ve seen that if we let our children be ‘naughty’ in a controlled way, it massively reduces the chance that they will misbehave in real ways. We had both been ill this week and had been missing out on playfulness, so I spotted my chance to leap in and have a few giggles. I know that every time I invest time in connection, I’m increasing the chance my daughter will be co-operative when I really need her to be.

So if you have a few moments to spare, and get some inspiration for what might make your child laugh (while they are in the more powerful role) then try out some giggle parenting.

You might also like

Why You Should Let Your Children Be ‘Naughty’

What To Do When Your Child ‘Just’ Wants Your Attention

Giggle Parenting – The Best Discipline Tool Out There 

Giggle Parenting – Playing Shops

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Today we were playing shops for special time. We took turns being the shopkeeper and shopper. We had some barcodes and prices on pieces of paper. When it was my turn to be the shopkeeper I started making lots of mistakes. I scanned the toy bananas instead of the barcode. Then I typed in the barcode number instead of the price. When my daughter gave me some coins I tried to swipe them through the card machine.

Each time I made a mistake my daughter would correct me. I would say sorry that it was my first day being a shopkeeper and I didn’t really know what I was doing. She laughed and laughed. She found it hilarious when I pretended to be the automated voice of the till saying ”beep, beep, beep, this is the wrong price for bananas,” over and over again.

I could see that this play was building her confidence, she got to correct me, explaining the right numbers to type in or the right thing to scan. As children who are relatively new to the world and learning how it works all the time, this kind of play is a welcome relief from all the times when they feel confused and wondering what is going on.

Giggle parenting can sometimes be a handy tool to use when we need to get our children to do something, and it can also be simply for pure fun and laughter. As we laughed together, I actually started enjoying playing shops!

Giggle parenting is about making an investment in connecting with our children. So when we need to leave the house to get out to the real shops our children are more likely to co-operate with us. As we say with Hand in Hand parenting, connection breeds co-operation.

So try some special time with your child, and let them pick what they want to do. See if you can bring some laughter into the play, with yourself in the less powerful role.

You might also like, 5 Tips For Having Fun Playing With Your Kids, And 5 Ways To Start Laughter Play With Your Kids

5 Tips For Creating Emotional Safety

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Emotional safety helps children feel connected to us and feel safe to tell us how they’re feeling. This helps prevent their emotions coming out in ‘off-track’ behaviour. 

Imagine the scene. Your child has just come home from Kindergarten. The Kindergarten teacher has told you that they were ‘as good as gold’ all morning. But now they’re home they’re having multiple tantrums, hitting their younger sibling, and throwing their toys around.

Or you leave the kids with your partner for an afternoon, and they’re perfectly happy and content. Then as soon as you come in the door they’re moaning, whining, and starting to cry. What on earth is going on? Does your Kindergarten teacher, or partner have superior parenting skills to you?

Absolutely not! And it’s probably quite the opposite. What’s likely the case is that you’ve created emotional safety for your children. They sense that you are there to listen to their feelings, and so they show them, sometimes directly through crying, and sometimes indirectly through their behaviour. They may keep those feelings hidden for as long as they can, and then let them out with the person who they trust the most.

Our children need a sense of connection, and emotional safety to thrive. Their limbic system, – the socio emotional part of the brain, is like a radar that constantly scans the environment to see ‘’am I safe here?’’ ‘’Who is taking care of me?’’

As long as a child’s limbic system feels well connected to others, they can think well, and their behaviour stays on track. But sometimes they may feel disconnected or experience emotional upset, that causes the feeling of disconnection.

When this happens the limbic system senses an emotional emergency, and then the pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain responsible for rational, reasonable thinking can’t function well. Your child may start behaving in crazy ‘unworkable’ ways, in order to try and restore connection. So they whine or moan at us, and do things they know deep down are wrong like hitting, or they start crying. They usually behave in these ways towards their closest family members, the ones that are most invested in loving, and listening to them.

One of the things most parents do at some point is to try and stop their child from crying or tantrumming. They distract, reason with, or trying to ‘fix’ the situation as quickly as possible. However crying is actually a healing process, and if we can simply be there and ride out the storm of their upsets, then children can release the feelings that are behind their challenging behaviour.

When we practise creating deep emotional safety for our children, they can move away from ‘acting’ out their upsets, towards simply expressing their feelings instead.

Here’s 5 tips for creating emotional safety

  1. Let Your Children Have Their Feelings – If your toddler throws a tantrum, don’t try to distract them, or fix things instantly. Instead be there and listen. As parenting educator Dr. Deborah Macnamara says, ‘crying is not the hurt, but the process of being unhurt.’ Most of us grew up with our emotions being ignored, or stopped, so it can be hard to have patience with our children’s upsets. I like to think of them as nature’s behaviour regulation system. If we can stay close, and try to be calm, then our child can get their upset out, feel better and then behave better.
  2. Have Special Time Doing What Your Child Loves – Set a timer for 15-20 minutes and then spend time doing whatever your child wants. Shower your child with your love and undivided attention. When you do this regularly it lets your child know that there is a safe place to go to have your full attention and listening.
  3. Play and laugh together – Children often use play to work through issues in their lives. So if your child wants to play schools with you, perhaps there’s something about school they need to figure out. Children often get hurt when they feel powerless. Perhaps they got frustrated about doing what the teacher said, or another kid was aggressive towards them. Turning the tables in play and letting your child be in the more powerful role can be very healing. So let your child boss you around or be the teacher, or make ‘mistakes’ to give your child the upper hand.
  4. Set limits on behaviour and listen to the feelings – When we set limits, we can say no with love, and listen to the feelings. This allows your child to release any upsets that were causing them to behave in ‘’off-track’’ ways. This way of setting limits actually builds closer connections rather than causing frustration and friction between parent and child.
  5. Get Emotional Support For Yourself –  This kind of peaceful parenting isn’t easy. We’re often nurturing our children on a much deeper level than we experienced as a child. Do things that help you relax and feel nurtured. Spend time with friends, who you can talk, laugh and cry with. The parenting approach I teach – Hand in Hand parenting, also has a free  listening partnership scheme where you can exchange time talking and listening with other parents. This provides us with the emotional safety we need so we can then be more fully present for our children.

For more information about using Hand in Hand Parenting to help children with their feelings check out my book Tears Heal: How to listen to our children

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15 Playful Ways To Get Children To Walk

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When our kids first learn to walk, they may be so determined it’s hard to stop them. However once the novelty wears off there may be moments when we’re on our way somewhere and they get grumpy, whiney and don’t want to walk.

Sometimes it could be that they’re just genuinely tired. At other times they may simply get bored. Walking in a straight line can be pretty boring for a child! It could also be that they are feeling disconnected,  or are experiencing upset feelings. They may start telling us about their feelings through being grumpy and whiney, and wanting to be carried.

Ariadne Brill of Positive Parenting Connection shared with me that we can become aware of when children are using the movement from the walk as a means of letting us know they need to be listened to. Sometimes we can use staylistening, to help them through these difficult moments. At other times laughter and playlistening will seem more appropriate.

If we need to get somewhere, and our child just doesn’t want to walk, or we are physically exhausted and just can’t carry them anymore, a little bit of play can help give children the burst of energy they need to keep going. Some of these tips can be used for when you just want to get home from the supermarket. Others can help everyone enjoy family hikes in the countryside. Repeat each one as long as the giggles are flowing, and you are going in roughly the right direction!

  1. Mummy limpet and baby limpet – In this game. We pretend we are the mummy or daddy limpet, and our child is the baby limpet. We tell our child in a playful tone that they must stay stuck to us the whole time and we really hope that they don’t get unstuck and run away. This is the ideal invitation for them to do just that. We can chase after them saying, ”oh no! My limpet’s running away, I need to catch her and get stuck again.” We can also play when we get unstuck from our child, and go forward a metre or two. We can then call out to our child, ”Oh no, I got unstuck! Quick catch up with me!”
  2. Runaway Buggy – Exercise keeps me sane and as we live in the countryside, I like to go on a walk most days. I have encouraged my daughter out of the house by taking a buggy where she can sit and eat snacks. Eventually she gets bored and actually wants to walk. Sometimes she needs a bit of persuasion, so we play runaway buggy, and I ask for her help to chase it.
  3. Buggy Races – I sometimes pretend to speak in the voice of the buggy, and ask my daughter to race her. Then the buggy makes the mistake of starting to race even though she’s still sitting in there. This makes her laugh. Eventually she’ll get out and want to do a real race.
  4. Make it Fun Melinda Taylor Shoutens of the website More 2 Explore says ‘ We bring loads of snacks. The children collect sticks. We bring bubbles and stop for breaks. We also search for treasures along the trail and seek out wild life. ”
  5. Go Somewhere Fun And Child Friendly – Choose somewhere with interesting things to look at along the way, for example this Adventure Dwarf trail in Muggenstutz, Switzerland was recommended to me by Melinda Taylor Shoutens. It has been designed with little hikers in mind.
  6. Try A Treasure Hunt – Ariadne Brill  says, ”For a simple scavenger hunt, for example, we have drawn pictures of things we think we might be able to find along our walk. Sometimes we even draw super silly things like a purple elephant, and then of course I get to pretend to just have seen it and spark up more curiosity and the need to keep walking.”
  7. Bring Binoculars and Magnifying Glasses My friend Karin recommends bringing along these gadgets to make exploring a bit more interesting. You might also want to try books in the I-Spy Series where you go into nature and tick off the thig
  8. Try Geocaching – Geocaching is a real life treasure hunt, with lots of tiny boxes hidden in millions of places all over the world. Walking to get from A-B may not be fun, but hunting for treasure is! For more info see the Geocaching website.
  9. Runaway ball- This one is good for the countryside, but not so good on a busy street! Have a ball in your bag, and when your child starts complaining about being bored or tired get the ball out and throw it down the path. Then you and your child can chase after it. Repeat!
  10. Silly Legs – Have your legs suddenly walk backwards, or sideways, or in zig-zags and then tell your child, ”oh dear! My legs have started going all wrong. Can you help me please?” They will enjoy being in the more powerful role as they sort your silly legs out. If you try the sideways walk you might want to tell your child that you have turned into a crab. Say, ”come on baby crab.” If they’re still going forwards you could say, ”hmm. This must be a human child, she doesn’t seem to be walking right for a crab.”
  11. Crazy Wind That Blows You Along The Road – Ask your child if they can feel the wind blowing. Tug at your child’s hand and tell them that there’s a wind blowing your down the road. You’ll get where you need to go much fast with a crazy wind blowing you.
  12. Silly Scooter – If your child has a scooter with them that they no longer want to ride you could turn it into a silly scooter. Have it jump down the road, or land in funny places, or go backwards or sideways, and ask your child to help catch the silly scooter.
  13. Pull Along Stick – If you’re in the countryside, find a stick and pretend it is a train, or bus, that will pull your child along. Have the stick go really fast to add excitement. Or have it go really slow, and start complaining to the train saying, ”Excuse me train. I need you to go a bit faster than this!” This put you in the less powerful role, so is likely to get your child giggling.
  14. Fast Bit – When you are walking along the street, and your child is complaining about being tired tell them that you think you are coming up to a fast bit. Then pull your child’s hand and start running. Build your child’s sense of anticipation, and put yourself in the less powerful role by saying, ”I hope that’s the end of the fast bits for now. Oh no! There’s another fast bit.”
  15. Jungle Walk – From Hand in Hand instructor Skye Marilyn Munroe of Nurturing Connections.We live at the top of a hill ( the things you do for ocean glimpses !)
    At the bottom of the hill is a playground. Mr 4 is super keen to walk TO the playground, and does it without a worry.The walk home is not always as pleasant. Mr 4 has been VERY interested in jungles of late…”Oh no!” I exclaim “We are stuck in the middle of the jungle, how will we ever get out of here & home?! Please help me Mr Explorer!” “FOLLOW ME!” He cried, immediately buying into it.We trekked through the arduous jungle, fighting through tangly vines, dodging coconuts thrown by the cheeky monkeys and freezing like statues anytime a dangerous jungle animal ( aka car) approached. We even had to do a tricky river crossing (zebra crossing) We ran, we stalked, we crawled our way to safety (home).It was super fun and we made it home in record time!

I hope these ideas making walking with kids more fun and playful. To read more of Ariadne brills wonderful tips check out Fun Ways To Motivate Children To Take Long Walks. You might also like, Sensory Walk: A Sense Of Touch Walk

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