‘Keep ‘em moving’: that was my parenting mantra when I had two young children aged within four years of each other (and a terrier!), says Katherine Reeve

Fresh air and exercise – wear everyone out and they’ll all sleep well. Myself included. So while ante/post-natal friends signed up for membership of the local soft play café – or the local children’s farm (soft play with animals on site), I went to the woods. I can pretend that this was for the dog’s benefit, but really it was for mine – and I also suspected early on that my big girl is not really a people person (she certainly has friends, but likes to do her socialising in moderation).

At first, walking the dog, I wore one child, then the other, in slings or structured backpacks. As time went on, they grew heavier – and multiplied, whilst I still only had one back. My doggo was young and sprightly – and not impressed by the distance travelled by a toddler.

What incentives could I provide to make those little legs walk just a little further? Just at the point I was exploring this conundrum, nature provided an answer by filling the bushes and hedgerows with ripe sweet temptation: blackberries. Can you go just a little further? That bush over there looks like it might be good picking.