Walking outdoors daily for 15-30 minutes has tremendous benefits for adults, children, AND babies. Here are six excellent reasons to take your kids for a walk every day:
1. Establish Healthy Habits
Walking has so many benefits for your body and mind. Establishing a daily walking routine with your baby teaches them that staying active is a lifestyle choice and a privilege. This will help them make similar, healthy decisions as they grow up. Studies show that walking outside also reduces anxiety, boosts creativity, strengthens memory, and improves quality of life (Steinhilber, 2020). No matter the age of your child, they are experiencing the joy of being outdoors and spending quality time with their parents.
2. Help Them Learn
When you go for a walk together, whether it be a trip around the block or a hike at National Park, your child is developing a greater understanding of the world around them. Each excursion is an opportunity to learn. Talk to your kids about traffic safety, what the sunset looks like, how to approach dogs, or what kind of plants you see. The greatest brain development happens from age 0-3, so help their growth by showing them all the wonderful and curious things about their world (Fox, 2020).
3. Build Their Vocabulary
Research shows that talking to your baby does wonders for their brain development and their vocabulary. A study recorded in Brain Rules For Baby, by John Medina, reports that “children whose parents talked positively, richly, and regularly to them knew twice as many words...and when they entered the school system, their reading, spelling, and writing abilities soared above those of children in less verbal households” (2014, p. 127). Walking with your kids is a great opportunity to chat with them about your day and about what you see. Even if they can’t respond yet, they are listening and learning.
4. Disconnect and Unplug
One of the most glorious things about going for a walk with your baby is that there are limited screens. The TV is at home and phones are usually put away, so you can enjoy your time with your little one without the constant distraction of email alerts. We all need more time away from our devices, kids especially. Too much early exposure to screens can be so toxic for children that The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend no TV or screen time before the age of two, and only an hour of screen time after that. (Pappas, 2020). Instead, opt for face to face interactions, exercise, and time outside!
5. Better Naps!
Did you know that kids who spend more time outside fall asleep more easily? This is because exposure to sunlight and fresh air, even on a cloudy day, helps to regulate their inner clock (Dewar, 2021). Quality sleep is essential for everyone to function at their best, especially for young, rapidly growing babies: “Children who establish healthy sleep habits are optimally awake and optimally alert to interact with their environment. These children are self-assured and happy, less demanding, and more sociable. They have longer attention spans and become faster learners” (Buckman & Ezzo, 2017, p. 57).
6. Bond and Make Memories
As you know, babies grow up so fast. Make sure that the precious time you spend with them is meaningful and reflects your values. Whether your baby is tiny enough to be swaddled to your chest or old enough to hold your hand as you cross the street, going for a walk together is a chance to get to know each other better and make memories that you will always cherish. The greatest gift you can give your kids is your time.
The Mini Charm Diaper Bag from Humble-Bee is the perfect walking companion for you and your baby. It is lightweight and can be attached to your stroller or worn across your body. Humble-Bee has all your essentials for you and your favorite adventure buddy!
Bucknam, R., & Ezzo, G. (2017). Babies and Sleep. In On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep (p. 57). story, Parent-Wise Solution, Inc.
Dewar, G. (2021, May 24). 12 Benefits of Outdoor Play (and tips for helping kids reap these benefits). Parenting Science. Retrieved from https://parentingscience.com/benefits-of-outdoor-play/ .
Medina, J. (2014). Brain rules for Baby: How to raise a smart and happy child from zero to five. Pear Press.
Pappas, S. (2020, April 1). What Do We Really Know About Kids and Screens? Monitor on Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/cover-kids-screens#:~:text=AAP%20calls%20for%20no%20screen,of%20screen%20time%20per%20day.Steinhilber, B. (2020, August 3). Why Walking Is the Most Underrated Form of Exercise. NBCNews.com. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-walking-most-underrated-form-exercise-ncna797271.