Why Walking with Your Children Can Strengthen Your Bond

by Sue Talbot

As a parent, you’ll already know how important it is to spend quality time with your children, but did you know that going for walks with your kids can strengthen your bond? 

Since my son was old enough to walk, I always made sure that he came along when I was taking my dog for walks, not only so that he would get some exercise and fresh air but so we could also spend quality time together, away from the distractions of work and school. Over the years, we have formed a unique bond that I believe is largely owed to the fabulous walks we have done (and still do) together.

A mother and son walk together in the Lake District.

How can walking with your child strengthen your bond?

  1. Walking with your child provides you with precious time to talk to each other, on a much deeper level than you would when you’re rushing around at home. It’s a great opportunity for them to open up to you as you amble along at a leisurely pace, and it also allows you to give them your undivided attention so you can listen properly to what they say. Being in a relaxed environment and having one-on-one time gives them more freedom to speak about what’s on their mind.
  2. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep our children’s minds healthy as well as improving their physical health. In turn, this will help to build their self-confidence and improve their mood, meaning communication becomes easier and better and you form a stronger connection. 
  3. Walking can also improve your child’s emotional wellbeing and research has shown that it can reduce anxiety, stress and depression. When your child is feeling more relaxed and at ease in themselves, they are able to communicate better, and you can build a much deeper relationship. And there’s nothing better than walking among nature to help you both relax and unwind. 
  4. Digital devices such as mobile phones, computer games and television can really affect our mood and attention span, causing stress and irritability. This can impact on relationships with your children as they have less tolerance and can become more demanding. By stepping away from the devices and going for a walk in the countryside, you can break the cycle and help improve your child’s focus and attention which has a calming effect and allows you both to live in the present moment.
  5. As you walk together, you’ll probably find yourself unconsciously teaching your child about the surrounding nature, such as pointing out various tress, flowers and animals. As well as being able to educate your child on the world around you, you’ll find that they look up to you and respect your knowledge, especially if you’re teaching them things that they are curious about. 

Although it’s great to go on nature walks with your child, it can be just as rewarding walking through a town or a city and it will still help to strengthen your bond. So, don your comfiest shoes and start exploring together and you’ll soon see how much your connection with your child grows. 

The writer's son overlooks the steep fells of the Lake District.

Originally published 02/06/23

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