8 ways to get your child to walk down a road

Have you ever had difficulty trying to get a small person to walk from A to B? Although most of them have superb perambulation skills when it comes to pursuing their own agendas, when it comes to your’s they can adopt a pace more befitting of a snail. Therefore, parents throughout history have become remarkably adept at the following encouragement techniques. I share mine here, so you too can arrive at your destination at least a few minutes prior to completely losing the will to live!!!

1. Interesting Garden Ornaments

+ 50m

There is a front yard around the corner from us that is so bedecked with gnomes, statuettes and other knick-knacks that I am sure the homeowners must struggle to reach their own front door, not to mention wrestle their wheelie bins out on a weekly basis without taking out a sun bleached, badly eroded miniature fisherman. But I salute you, garden bejazzlers, for you have created a thing of wonder. The curiosity engendered with your frankly naff collection is enough to buy me some distance. Scout around your locality for such hauntingly compelling medleys of tut and keep the coordinates locked down – you never know when they might come in handy.

2. Walls

+ 10m, depending on wall length

2013-12-01 10.59.36_resized

The joy a child feels when walking on a wall is not to be underestimated, offering a new and exciting perspective on the world. It can be known to take their mind off the fact that they are actually getting closer to where you want them to be. A mere foot in extra height can allow you to achieve this simple distraction technique.

This works best with municipal walls – car park, library, etc. When attempting this method on domestic walls, do be aware of the Golden Ratio, which states that the wall must be at least 4 m from the windows of the property it boundaries. Anything closer is just rude. Failure to adhere to this means you run the risk of looking like your toddler is trying to get a better view in over the nets, scoping the joint for one of their dastardly plans or schemes.


The long unwinding road

3. Buttons!

+ 10m per button

If I ever become a crazy millionaire philanthropist, I will fritter away some of my money installing random buttons along pavements countrywide to encourage small people on their merry way. Until this happens, we will all just have to make do with the ones provided for us at road crossings. The Green Man Summoners seem to hold such delight for our children. The promise of a button to press has been known to delay a whinge of “Are we nearly there yet?” by up to 30 seconds, although if you are travelling with more than one child you may need Kofi Annan with you to negotiate the complex arrangements over whose turn it is next.


Image from news.bbc.co.uk

4. Tell Them A Story

+ 100m, more if you can string it out

Still quite a way from your journey’s end? Whip out a classic fairytale to get them one step further (if you’re lucky you will manage to achieve more than one step!). Intersperse your narration with mum-isms such as “put that stick down” and “don’t do that to your sister” to really help the story flow.20150806_191259_resizedWalls. They are everywhere.

5. The Wall Game

+ 50m

Following on from actually walking on walls, this game involves your child asking you the same question again and again, and boy, do they love doing that! The question this time is “Can I walk on that wall?” and the game is that you have to come up with a reason why not for each barrier they demand to scale. The true answer is that you just can’t walk on people’s front garden walls when they are mere feet from their front windows, due to an abstract construct called politeness that most children are yet to grasp. That said, take this as a good opportunity to baffle your child with new vocabulary they don’t know the meaning of, you will have bamboozled them along before you know it. An example:

Child: “Can I walk on that wall?”

You: “No, it’s too precipitous.”

Child: “Can I walk on that wall?”

You: “No, it’s too crenelated.”

Child: “Can I walk on that wall?”

You: “No, it’s too diminutive.”


Too ornate


Too herbaceous


Too curvilinear

Well, I find it entertaining anyway. And my son asks to play it, so he obviously gets something out of it too! And shhh! Don’t tell them, but we are even closer to where we are going!

6. Sing A Happy Tune

+ 50m per song

I like to propel my small people along with a bit of a sing song. Pick one with animal noises for maximum fun/embarrassment. Sometimes this is tolerated, sometimes I am asked to “stop singing, please”. Try to avoid anyone asking the question, “if The Wheels on the Bus do go round and round with such unerring regularity, why didn’t we just hop on the 192?”


Image from londonbuses.co.uk

7. Don’t Walk

+ 150m

Walking can be a bit samey. Enjoy coming up with interesting ways of travelling to task your child with, motivating them gently along by the power of variety. For inspiration, look to the animal kingdom or a favourite film/tv character and they will be trotting, zooming, wiggling or bouncing to the next tree before you can think of another idea.

8. Look for Numbers

+ 100m, but not in a Usain Bolt way

Read the numbers in the environment. This may slow your pace considerably when your three year old wants to read every the three digit door number “by myself” as you walk down a very long terraced street, but at least some movement can be maintained. Also, watch out for arm yankage when an abrupt stop must be made to check what the number is on each lamp post (yes, lamp posts are numbered – who knew?). I’ll be honest, you’ll probably wish you’d never started this one.20150806_191126_resized


It may be necessary to combine these steps, changing it up for maximum effect. You may alarm fellow passers by with the accuracy of your lion impression. There may be a few disgruntled motorists waiting at a red light because you’ve pushed a button at a pedestrian crossing when you didn’t even need to cross the road. You may start to think of wall words that you aren’t convinced exist. You’ve probably realised (too late) that you don’t know what sound a giraffe makes. And that story you started telling them? You can’t remember how it ends. But yay! You have reached your destination.


Domestic Momster

Friday Frolics
A Cornish Mum
Binky Linky
You Baby Me Mummy
Parenthood Highs and Lows
Mami 2 Five

73 thoughts on “8 ways to get your child to walk down a road

  1. I have used a combination of nearly all of these. I now hope you will win big on the lottery so you can start your button-installation scheme asap. Brilliant idea.
    I will now not be able to pass by a wall without trying to come up with outlandish adjectives. Good work! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for those ideas. They are great! How inventive we must become as parents. Just to get our kid to actually walk somewhere with no fuss! I will start using big words, as you do, when we come across walls my kid wants to challenge 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deffo used the wall one. Another one I used was what we called lamp posting – who can get to the next lamp post first – really gets them to speed up if everything is a race with a winner #momsterslink

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the button idea – to make them extra effective, they should have large ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ signs! I am definitely going to try the vocabulary bamboozling – that’s amazing! Of course lamp posts are numbered! How else do farmers identify their lamp posts when they need to round them up for shearing? x #fridayfrolics

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your ideas, they are very educational as well – the child is learning numbers, colours, textures & so much more on this walk! My grandfather & I used to walk to the shop for milk. On the way (unknown to me) he would drop pennies along the sidewalk. I’d find them on the walk home & be so excited with each one! Your button idea made me think of that 🙂 #PicknMix x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ha ha! Love this! We have used combinations of these, but particularly love your names for the walls! the number reading used to be a big help, but now the best thing is talking about what we have done/are going to do. Oh and we don’t have a gnome garden, but there is one with a miniature train track in it, which has helped in the past! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha ha this is brilliant! I have the exact same problem. Dependinh on where we are I will let money run on to some sort of landmark which seems to help a little i.e. a lap post or certain colour car etc – but I wouldn’t want to do it near a busy road or anything. I will be using your tips when I can’t do the running thing! Thanks for sharing #momsterslink

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t often allow Jet to walk/run anywhere without holding onto the buggy or my hand, as he doesn’t know when to stop running and he ends up a tiny speck on the horizon! So yes, lots of these can be done with the benefit of close proximity!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Haha, I know how you feel. Sometimes my boy takes ages, and you just want to get to your destination! I bring bubbles with me sometimes and blow bubbles to get him moving! #thelist Sabrina x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is brilliant!! I have three little ones – one is 8 months so thankfully still in pushchair, but the 4yo and 2yo are nightmares. Walls ALWAYS work, as does ‘wait, was that the Gruffalo I just spotted right down there?’ I reckon the gruffalo thing has a couple of months left with the 4yo! Thanks for linking up to #SuperparentSaturday xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love it! My little man isn’t quite walking yet but has recently started to develop the button fascination so that will be handy xx #SuperparentSaturday


  11. Love it! My little man isn’t quite walking yet but has recently started to develop the button fascination so that will be handy xx #SuperparentSaturday

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We still have to use all of these at age six. One child loves to walk but the six year old doesn’t. I would also add the value of a thin stick with a handful of grass tied on the end. Call it a broomstick and it works wonders! #momsterlink


  13. What a great post! You had me chuckling along. We have the wall problem too. I like your solution to it though, I should use that next time 🙂 I’m thinking what noise a giraffe does make now… #SuperParentSaturday

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always ask people that when I meet new faces at baby groups – and I judge them on their responses 🙂 Mind you, I;m pretty sure they make some interesting judgements of me based on that question too, so there we are!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, I’ve had one of those days today too… Hence I’ve just published a post about the little sister, not the three year old! I couldn’t write anything nice about him tonight 😉 Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Fantastic tips and written so well too! I love reading posts like yours that add a pinch of humour to what is otherwise a completely odious task (my 5 year old is constantly complaining if she has to walk any further than about 20 steps, yet she’ll run around a park for 5 hours straight?!). Thanks so much for linking up #SuperparentSaturday x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh my little girl has just started walking, still holding on to my hand but even now she wants to stop to pick something up every two seconds! I will defineitly be using these tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ha I remember these days well despite my sons being 9 and 11! My eldest used to sit in any puddles he could find and then get angry because he was wet for the rest of the walk…the logic of toddlers! Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x

    Liked by 1 person

  17. these are all great suggestions, ones which I have used repeatedly. This time of year and living where we do we also use picking (and scoffing) blackberries to usher kids along the paths we usually take! Thanks for linking up with #sundaystars x

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Aww this made me laugh – I must try some of these tips sometime. I especially like the vocabulary building one, always good to learn some new words like curvilinear or herbaceous 😀 will come handy for any toddler 😀


    1. My son is literally always using these words now! *no, he isn’t. He likes to maintain the illusion that he doesn’t listen to a word I say to him… but he does let it slip sometimes by repeating something I thought he had ignored, so I guess osmosis plays a part 🙂
      Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for sharing 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s