My Tips To Make A Hiking Adventure Fun For The Kiddos & Less Stressful For You!
Taking your kids for a hike can be a great way to get them out and wildish, while let's face it getting some much-needed exercise that our kids today are definitely lacking.
So who's up for the challenge this summer to get their kids out and enjoying the great outdoors!? Here are my top tips to help.
- Start out easy & short. Don't rush your kids into some long and exhausting hike right out the gate, they won't respond well. Pick something at the beginning that is short and not too difficult for the first couple goes. Also, you wanna pick something that's visually interesting like a lake or maybe even a rock cropping. These types of things give the kiddos something to focus on, or a goal if you will that they will expect to reach. If you find your little one would rather just forage around when you take them out, don't worry there's always another day just let them enjoy themselves, don't force it.
- Schedule in lots of free time for this. Time means nothing to children and they naturally want to explore and touch everything. That's why taking them on a hike is such a great idea, there's so much to do out in the wild just enjoy the time you have let them enjoy purging their natural instincts.
- Make sure you pack the essentials. You never know what might happen or when so it's always wise to be prepared. Take these things with you; a dry magnetic compass, multi-pocket tool, a trowel, map/GPS, sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, jacket, flashlight, first-aid supplies, bug repellent, butane lighter/waterproof matches, water, snacks, and trash bags. Each of these items has a purpose and to learn more about this please visit here.
- Layers! One of the most important essential is clothing! You need to make sure you take enough and for every possibility. you never know what might happen or where. You also want to make sure your little ones have adequate hiking shoes to ensure they have protected feet and ankles.
- Make time to break. Make sure to plan out and make time for plenty of stops. Hiking can sap the energy right out of children and a tired child is a cranky child! These breaks also help keep the kids moving by enticing them with if we get here we can stop and have a snack which kills two birds with one stone.
- It needs to be fun! Make a game of it. For example, you could bring a paper bag with and put a scavenger hunt in it for the little on to find while your hiking. The size and how hard they are to find is based on child's age and the length of the hike because remember small children get bored quickly. There are many more ideas I'm sure you can come up with!
- Give proper compliments to encourage them. If you tell your child throughout the hike how well they're doing they will want to keep going to keep getting the praise from you!
- Leave no trace. As a mother of two boys who were cub scouts this one is a big deal to me. When you have your children out why not teach them that they need to care for the earth and not litter and leave the space as it was. Our children are the future caretakers of our planet, the earlier they learn this lesson the better! Leave No Trace
- Make it a routine. going hiking or camping often starts creating a routine for your child they become used too just like bedtime routines. I suggest starting out either once a month or once a week depending on your lifestyle.
- Bonus tips for infant parents! If your an infant-parent get your child use to the carrier before hiking with them! Make sure to schedule your trips around nap time because the motion is likely to put them to sleep and this will help keep from messing with their sleep schedule. Start hikes out limited and make sure the weather will be nice (not too cold, hot, windy, wet, etc). Make sure the baby is well-protected from the sun, use a brimmed hat and good sunscreen. If the baby is formula fed the powdered version will save on carrying more weight. And last but not least bring plenty of diapers and waste bags. The more waste bags the better so you can double seal them for carrying out and disposal.