Be it a warm morning or cold breezy day, our morning walk is a must. A dose of fresh air and loads of sunshine are vital for babies and adults alike.
When my baby, Penguin, was a day old, my family used to expose him to early morning warm strands of sun. This ritual continued for long. Once we moved back home, I used a stroller and we roamed around a block. Soon, we ditched the stroller and adopted babywearing ways. Now Penguin has grown independent and walks, rather runs around.
When I started this morning ritual of walk, my objective was limited to a good dose of Vitamin D. Gradually I found many understated benefits. (Read on 😊). We go outdoor around 8 AM or so, and stay out for at least 1 hour.
Our morning walk is all about fun, creating memories and educational. We feed pigeons, chase butterflies, wave bye-bye to people and notice many every small action along the way.
My now 14 months toddler loves walking. As he started walking without any support around 13th month, he is still in phase of enjoying freedom and independence. Every morning he chooses the path to explore and I follow. He either picks to walk along road or go to park nearby. Walking has promoted his stability and strength. He can independently climb up the stairs to slide and also climb up the slide. Also, he is climbing stairs to a floor about 15-20 steps holding walls or fingers. Recently, he amazed me when he crawled-climbed-walked a small 10 meters slope in the park independently.
Independence and sense of freedom boost toddler’s self-esteem. Also, it increases their attention, focus and sense of physical awareness.
Penguin, my son, is a shy child. He still takes his own sweet time to give a smile to strangers. But thanks to a daily social interaction the ice is breaking. Kids love to play with other children irrespective of age. While same cannot be said for their liking towards grownups. During our daily walk we interact with kids walking to school or waiting for bus, office goers, shopkeepers, other morning walkers, animals and birds too.
Gradually Penguin is becoming a social butterfly. He waves bye-bye to every passer-by, calls animals and birds, says good morning with a nod to regular faces.
- Cognitive and speech development
Starting from Penguin’s infancy during the walk I used to point and show everything to him with a description. Like a tree, car, bike, kids, swing, flower, everything. Like when we spot a flower I said a red colored rose or white hibiscus or a brown dog or a red car. Also, the shape of stones or pavement floor etc. Now he can recognize animals, birds, objects etc. Along with animal recognition, he responds with animal sounds. We even smell a flower or two.
It is not a secret that morning walk boosts our immune system. A day starting with a walk by outdoor (especially unpolluted nature) keeps kids calm, happy and healthy.
There are few unexpected benefits for mothers or caregivers who follow around the active kids. An active walk with kids helps to get rid of postpartum weight loss. With regular walk one would surely feel happier and lighter. And the unspoken benefit for mothers is, the boon, kids get tired and sleep giving moms few moments of much-needed “ME time”.
With so many benefits I try never to miss our morning walks, but kids are unpredictable. I have seen days when Penguin refused to walk or interact. So, I had to discover new fun ways to allure him.
Fun ideas to make morning walk interesting:
- Explore a new pathway. When Penguin gets bored with same 2 – 3 path options to walk, we walk-around another block.
- Take a ball to play.
- Make bubbles. Always a hit!
- Collect fallen flowers or pluck few fresh ones.
- Gather nature around. Twigs, rocks, sand, flowers, fallen leaves, etc
- Take a book. Though one can’t read and walk, yet take a break and read one. I use to take Eric Carle’s book of words and match with things around.
P.S. Always remember to dress the kids appropriately for the walk. Also, avoid taking kids under harsh sun.
This is updated now – read the new version here.