I walk every day in the local park near my house and I see a lot of moms out with young children in strollers and push chairs. It’s good exercise for moms and gives children lots of fresh air and a nice change of scenery. In fact, a nice long walk is a great idea for both of you, but it can also be a missed opportunity, not only for your child, but for you too. Here’s what I mean...
FRONT ROW SEAT
Many strollers and push chairs are designed to position the child facing outwards. It seems like a good idea on the surface because it gives your child a front row seat to the world (or at least the park). And for certain, I would never argue with giving children new and exciting things to look at each day. That’s great visual stimulation in and of itself.
However, beyond that, I’m not sure what else a very young child actually gets out of his “front row seat.” You see, infants don’t know what they’re looking at and without the comforting sounds of someone familiar (you) “narrating” the scene, chances are, it’s nothing more than a silent movie with no sub-titles -- images fly by, but the story is hard to follow.
TALK THE WALK!
In order to make the most of your daily walk for your child, I recommend putting yourself into the role of your baby’s tour guide. Each day, talk about whatever you see... the warm sunshine, the tall trees, the beautiful flowers, and the white fences that line the pathways. These may be old news to you, and it might even feel a little silly, but to your child this is a wonderland of fascinating, fabled proportions!
Then stop and take him out of the chair. Let him touch the flowers or the tree bark. Sit or lay him on the grass and let him feel the dew on his skin. And talk about it all. Repeat the words as he sees, hears, touches, and smells the world around him. While your words may just be sounds to him at first, eventually they will start to make sense. For you see, your words are the very foundation for helping him find his own someday.
And remember. No matter how beautiful the scenery, you are his favorite thing to look at. So be sure to spend as much "face time" as you can.
Not only will this give him a terrific, word-filled, multi-sensory experience, it gives both of you a chance to spend some time in the sunshine... face to face!