Hiking With Kids
There are two ways hiking with children can go. Either you’ll have the time of your lives romping through nature, exploring and chatting about this and that, growing a little closer with each mile you hike over together. Or, it will be a journey to hell and back with disappointed, hot tired children and equally disappointed adults matching home in grumpy silence. Obviously, you want the former scenario with happy children skipping along a trail in blissful contentment. Make it happen by paying attention to the basic needs of the kids before even leaving the house. Here’s some useful advice for hiking with children without the stress.
Careful Selection Of Hiking Trails
When opting for hiking with children you should be aware of their stamina and fitness levels and select the most appropriate trail carefully, keeping their strengths and weaknesses in mind. Opting for difficult trails will only exhaust the children and make your journey more fraught and difficult. Easy hiking trails are ideal for beginners but if your kids are more grown up and love physically challenging adventures don’t be afraid to go for a medium. Just as there are adults, there are children who also enjoy outdoor challenges.
Discover Inner Strengths
Hiking with children is about finding a balance between what they can do already and what they can accomplish next. It is important to let children discover their inner strengths and build up their stamina by challenging their physical limits but they will still need frequent rests and comfort breaks. As you go, decrease the length of time spent on short rests and increase the time hiking between proper comfort stops.
Rushing towards your camping site is not an option while you are hiking with kids. They need proper rest breaks to regain their strengths. Stop every now and then to hydrate and eat snacks and take a few photographs and enjoying the beauty of nature.
Ample Amount Of Food And Drinks
You’ll be taking snacks and drinks with anyway, but always carry extra for hiking with kids. Children get hungry and thirsty fast when exercising and excited and sometimes they just need something to munch on to keep moving. Don’t underestimate the importance of drinks needed for walking in hot weather with children. It is a lot.
Plan Your Journey At Morning Hours
Morning is the best time for hiking especially when you have children around. Children are more charged in the early hours of the day and it is easier for them to walk long distances at this time. Morning hikes will also avoid the worst of hot weather and the crowds.
Children perform at their best when they know they are in charge. It’s a good idea to appoint your child as the leader of the family group and let them enjoy the feeling of empowerment. In case of multiple children rotate the leaders or provide each with responsibility and let each of them learn leadership skills along with learning hiking essentials. This will motivate them into being enthusiastic about trail hiking making everything so much easier for you to manage.
Keep The Environment Clean
Keeping your camping space clean and picking up all the clutter when you leave is essential even if you are a group of adults. It becomes more crucial when you have children around as kids learn by what they observe. Be an example of a responsible hiker for your child and clear up your camping area and the surrounding space with the help of your children. It’s an ideal opportunity to teach children that a clean environment is not only important for human beings but it is essential for wildlife and nature. Remove all traces of your camping and be as harmless to the environment you can. Fill up any holes you dig and carry all your garbage away with you.
Keep Chatting With Kids On The Go
Talking while hiking is a great time pass and kids can easily walk for miles while chatting along. Talk with your kids and teach them some valuable life lessons on the go, share with them your own life experiences, and give them the opportunity to express their views and feelings as well.
Let them talk their heart out as much as they want something often impossible in a busy day to day life. If your child is an introvert, initiate talks with indirect prompts by asking his views on a situation or just initiate a weather discussion or talk about something in your immediate surroundings. It could be anything any random event or question that encourages your child to speak up at a time when you have nothing to but hike and listen.
Chatting while hiking also helps create strong bonds with your children boosting their confidence for when discussing topics with an adult. They will collect beautiful memories with you to cherish all their lives.
Carefully Select Your Hiking Shoes
Careful selection of shoes for hiking is a must as your shoes can become your best friends or your enemies when on the go. When it comes to kids, the need for appropriate hiking shoes becomes multifold.
Durable shoes with strong grip are must for hiking as they will prevent your kids from frequent slipping and losing balance. Kids love to explore a lot and this is not possible in the absence of comfortable shoes. So choose your children’s hiking shoes so they are comfortable, durable enough to withstand rough weather, don’t get wet easily and have a strong grip to make their hiking adventure safe and full of fun and excitement. Always carry an extra pair of shoes and socks in case they get wet through to avoid any inconvenience and blisters when hiking. Let your children explore their surroundings without worrying about their feet.
Carry Clothes According To Weather
Kids get irritated and fuss when they are uncomfortable. Whether you opt for hiking in summer or during winter, pack enough clothing as well as footwear, according to the expected weather. Always pack an extra jacket and top in case of unpredicted rain. Rain jacket and hiking pants are a must to carry along while hiking with kids.
Any parent will tell you that going anywhere with children is a mission and you need half of what you own just to get there and get back home. But there is a sensible way to introduce your children to the joys of nature and keep some of your sanity intact. Let them help prepare for their big adventure outdoors and give them ownership and responsibility for their exciting new activity, but be there to guide them, especially hiking in the dark or exploring a tricky trail.
So, brace yourself for weird snacks and strange drinks, for extra hiking socks, jackets, and shoes you didn’t know they had been pulled out of cupboards and the inevitable lively discussions about who is in charge of what. Then you can actually leave the house for the big adventure outdoors and enjoy hiking with the kids.