As a Mom I know how overwhelming it can feel to keep up with little ones. I have two boys and there’s always lots of energy in our house. When the boys were little I worried about them getting too far ahead when we’d go for walks. I didn’t want to spend every walk yelling at them to stop and wait. I wanted them to be able to explore but also stay safe. Hence the mailbox game…..
If you’re blessed with mailboxes in your neighborhood streets here’s how it works. When you get to the mailbox first you have to stop and wait for everyone else, until Mom ( or Dad ) says go, then you unfreeze and get to run for the next mailbox. You know what most kids want? To get to the mailbox first. And while they still have plenty of opportunity to explore and play along the way this game gives opportunity to check in at each mailbox. Notice the trees, see what was going on. Keep them engaged with you. Sometimes they run off ahead to the next mailbox, sometimes they may linger. But having a system that provides freedom yet boundaries keeps the experience positive. For the kid that forgets quickly and might need a few reminders set additional game rules. For example, they may have to run back two mailboxes if they fail to stop. It’s a game after all, it should be fun.
Don’t have mailboxes? No problem pay attention to what is a long your walking route. Light posts, signs, driveways, trees….find easy to identify points along the way and make up your own game.
The need to get out of the house yet current limitations on where we can go, may lend itself to more family walks. With young kids that can be fun but also exhausting keeping everyone together and safe. Making up games is fun and you can ask your kids to help plan your next walk and how you’ll play along the way.