You have children. Now what? Does this mean that you have to put your tent and pack your trekking sticks for the next 18 years? Fortunately, the answer is no. However, you will need to change your goals a bit. Instead of trying to go all the way to the Appalachians all at once, you may need to divide it into more manageable sections to enjoy your children.
Although you can not go that far, fast or high as you did before, there are still many ways you can engage your children in hiking. That said, there are things to keep in mind.
Make sure you bring enough supplies
Extra water and snacks to diapers, bottles and more, depending on how you want your children to participate in hiking – all these items add extra weight to your package. Although you can renounce luxuries as an adult, you do not want to leave behind your child’s needs, especially when it comes to food and liquids.
Hiking already requires a lot of energy. And as you know, children who suffer from energy quickly become irritable. For a successful hike, make sure to pack enough food for multiple rest stops along the way. Make sure you wear a variety of snacks so your child is not bothered by the options.
While this may take up more space, having more snacks in your pack can serve as a motivator for your child. You can use it as a way to get it to the next stage of rest planned. By the time he has finished resting and eating, he will be ready to walk a little further.
The only thing you do not need to bring for your children? All electronics. There is no reason why they need their phone or their gaming device with them. Hiking is about enjoying time in nature as a family, so tell them to leave the smartphone at home.
Take it easy
Remember, your child does not have as much hiking experience as you do. Children get tired much faster, so they probably would not enjoy a very steep climb. Keep in mind that hiking is no longer about you; It’s about you and your child.
For the first trips, choose relatively stable and easy hikes. If there is an extraordinary reward at the end, like a waterfall, an amazing view or even a great place to play, even better. It is quite motivating for them to continue.
While a beautiful ending is great, especially, hiking is the experience. Engage your children in conversation as you walk and report plants, trees or birds. Encourage them to get on their hands and knees and explore the undergrowth. Just make sure the area is free from vinegar and oak.
If you want to go further, you can organize the hike in a treasure hunt. Create a list of items for your child to find and keep it relatively simple. This is a great way to entertain them, and you can always have more details about this particular item once your child has found it. It’s fun and educational!
Give your child a role
Children feel useful and are responsible for something. So give them a designated role during the hike. This could be like birdwatching, organizing snacks or even pumping for other hiking members. Anyway, make sure to thank them for their help.
You can also rotate the roles as a leader. Not only will this help children feel more empowered, they will also be more involved in hiking when they lead the group. It is also an excellent way to assess their pace. This way, when you return to being the leader, you can slow down or speed up if necessary. Just make sure you do not forget to rotate; otherwise, it will lead to arguments on the road. How and when you decide to rotate these roles depends on you.
Of course, you should always pay attention to everyone’s safety. If it seems that your child is trying to drive the group out of the way or somewhere that might be dangerous, guide it gently along the way and explain what the signs mean and why it should follow them. It’s a good idea to emphasize the safety aspect from the beginning of the hike and repeat it all along, especially when you are running. Find a kid friendly hiking trails near me kid friendly hikes in Olympic national park.
Activities are always more fun with friends. This is as true for adults as for children. Plan ahead and ask your children if they want to invite someone from the school. Or if you already have friends of the family, invite them. Your children will have someone their age to chat during the hike. It can maintain its energy level, and it makes the whole experience more memorable.
Just make sure your kids do not invite their entire class. It can be difficult to manage many people on a track, and there are always mistakes of confusion and confusion. Instead, invite one or two friends and promised that the next time they can bring someone back. Then they can spend time hiking with everyone, just not at the same time.
Make it a tradition
Physical activity is important for people of all ages. In fact, children should do about 60 minutes of aerobic exercise per day. Hiking is the perfect option as it brings your kids into the wild, it’s pretty little impact, and it’s an excellent family bonding experience. Additionally, hiking offers a sense of adventure because you never know what you’re going to see, even on the same trail. Depending on the season, you can see a fox, a deer or different types of birds. And, of course, you see how the landscape changes during the seasons.
Shoot for an expedition once or twice a month to explore the area around your home. If you live in a big city, you can even take time to go somewhere where you’ve never been before. There are countless opportunities to spend time outside.
You do not have to abandon the hike simply because you have children. In any case, you should encourage them to join your adventures and explore the wilderness. This will give them an appreciation of the world around them.