For more pictures, see the PicasaWeb album for this hike.
Dylan had been raring to get back to his beloved Link Trail, so Grace and I made sure to take him for a hike while we were in town for Thanksgiving. We were lucky enough to have Nathan available to join us. We parked at the Freber/Hodge Road trailhead and walked south onto the trail. Dylan, being four years old, is highly distractable, especially in the snow. Grace did an excellent job of keeping him on task; here is her description of her technique.
It was a mix of 3 things: context (what to expect from the outside world and feelings inside himself), locus of control (I gave him 2 choices, both acceptable, over and over.) and distraction (hero of his own sports story, sense of humor, silliness.)
A) I told him what to expect: how long it was before the end ("see that bend there, it's just beyond there" "we're more than halfway back to the car; can you look for the car?"), that it might feel difficult but that was normal and all the sports stars knew that the very end is harder work, that a little rest would give him alot more energy to run again (kids work in bursts - run, rest, run, rest).
B) I gave him 2 choices:
rest for 1 minute now or keep walking/rest later;
walk or run;
run now and shoulder ride later or walk and no shoulder ride
C) I did sports play by play narration of his running, which was apparently very inspiring and silly.
All this I learned from salon.com/tabletalk.
Thanks to Grace's efforts, Nathan and I had the opportunity to walk and talk amid the quietude of the stark winter day. The bare trees allowed us an open view down into the valley and the ravines. We all did our best to keep Dylan out of the wet spots. With Grace's coaching and coaxing, he did an impressive bit of running toward the end of the hike; he and Grace were one or two hundred yards ahead of me and Nathan by the time we reached the car!