Watching your little one take their first steps is a delightful sight. It is a critical growth phase and you may notice all your child wants to do now is walk to practice their new skill and explore their surroundings. During this sensitive period for movement, offering your child the opportunity to go for a child-led walk can be the perfect way to respond to their developmental needs.
Child-led walking means going on a walk with your child and allowing them to wander. It simply involves observing your child and responding to their actions, while keeping them safe.
Benefits Of The Child-Led Walk:
Children under six years old learn best through sensorial exploration. According to the proponents of early childhood programs, a child-led walk is beneficial for children in many ways. It is a part of early childhood education that helps them explore their surroundings and refine their motor skills.
Some of them are listed below:
- Improves your child’s motor skills. Physical activities like walking help children develop their gross motor skills.
- Child-led walking improves your child’s balance, flexibility, and posture.
- It improves your toddler’s self-confidence and promotes independence.
- Your child can explore new places and learn new things.
- It helps children make sense of the world around them.
How To Enjoy A Montessori Child-led Walk
A child-led walk can sound overwhelming as your young child needs constant supervision. Here are a few tips that can help you to make it more fun.
A child who just started walking needs supervision. They need to become more familiar with their environment and learn about safety rules. Since all they may want to do now is walk and explore the world around them, an adult presence and observation are necessary.
Before taking them for a walk, remind them of the safety rules (i.e. “We will hold hands when crossing the road.”). During your walk, talk to them again about the safety rules and comment on what you are doing (i.e. “There might be cars on the road. Let’s hold hands and check if it is safe to cross.”) Ensure they hold your hand when walking on the footpath in case of traffic.
You can also talk about road safety rules by reading books at home or storytelling with little toy cars.
Be consistent and acknowledge them every time they follow safety rules.
As adults, we usually walk with a destination in mind. Give your child the freedom to wander and decide which direction you are going and let them explore at their own pace. Allow them to stop, observe, listen, and point at whatever sparks their interest. This will boost their self-confidence, make them feel empowered, and improve their decision-making skills.
Things To Keep In Mind During Child-Led Walks
Be positive in your approach. Instead of saying “No”, explain why they shouldn’t be doing something and offer an alternative. For example, if they are running towards traffic, say something like “Let’s hold hands and walk slowly”.
Childcare educator philosophy says that a child-led walk improves children’s motor skills. Motor and sensory development is essential for the overall health and well-being of children and lays the foundations for their future learning.
Search for an early learning center near me or a preschool in Melbourne and enjoy a walk with your child. Avoid taking a pram or stroller, and let your child learn to walk and explore their surroundings with confidence.