Hiking with kids is a lot of fun. You can regale each other with stories, and if you like, you can make it a good family experience. It is bonding time. When they are all grown and gone, your children will remember you for the simple fun activities that you took together.
They will not remember you for the school fees that you paid or for putting food on the table – you were supposed to do that anyway! They will remember you for the good times that you had together.
Parenting is one of the most treasurable moments that you can have, but not every day is a celebration. Some days are more stressful than others and incorporating hiking only makes the whole experience a lot better, less tense and more entertaining. Besides, fresh air can work miracles for you and your child.
If you have hiked before, you have an idea on how to best prepare for the adventure. In case it is your first time, don’t worry too much because this article comprises various tips that can help you and your child hike together and have a lot of fun. When you decide to go for tent camping with kids, follow the following tips to make the whole experience worthwhile and memorable.
Hiking preparation – Get ready in every aspect!
From picking their trail to packing, you should involve the children. Tell them about the hike earlier enough so that they can prepare themselves psychologically. You will be surprised that they will actually be looking forward to it.
Food for hiking
If you want to make a child’s journey memorable, bring along nice food and snacks. That alone will rock the trip for them even before they get to experience it. Additionally, they will get hungry a lot because of the involved activities, thus you should make sure that the food is enough for all the involved parties. You need high-energy foods, but low sugar and snacks like chocolate nut protein balls can be suitable.
Water for hiking – Carry enough!
You will also require more water than you could probably think. Throughout the hike, children should take a lot of water to keep them from being dehydrated. You may also carry other drinks. For example, sugary drinks will keep the children’s energy levels up. Just keep them to the minimum.
Start your hike with kids early so that you can be back home early. If you live in a hot region, you have to escape the mid-day sun. If the place you are going hiking gets thunderstorms in the afternoons, it would be good that you escape those too.
In the morning, children will whine and demand less as their energy levels are usually high, and they are always looking for an adventure. Your kids may become crankier later in the day. Not forgetting that starting earlier will help you to deal with fewer people.
Best hiking trails
The hiking trails should be appropriate according to the fitness and age of your kids. It is important to conduct a study so that you can determine if the kids can handle the walk or not. Some places will automatically interest children like caves, waterfalls, wildlife, and art, which will help keep them occupied. You should venture into such places so that the children are intrigued.
Hiking is not a punishment. It is a pleasure that families should enjoy. However, there is a thin line between pleasure and punishment if you do not keep the hike easy and fine for the kids.
Decide on a period that you can allow the children to stretch even if it means just a few minutes. It is a priceless opportunity that can be crucial to their growth and enable them to realize their inner strength.
This will also assist you in gradually stretching out the time limit for the hikes so that in the future you have the aptitude to relish somewhat longer walks. When the kids get too beat, you can carry them on your back to help them rest.
Trails are measured in difficulty level. For example, for very young children, maybe four years and below, only simple trails should be taken. These are flat, no steepness and are short. Usually, in parks, such trails are paved.
For children between four and ten years, easy to moderate trails are the best. They are longer, have some steep areas, but still, they are very manageable.
Watch their body language
Watch the kids well to discern when they are tired. Their facial expression could help you in that. When you read these signs, you can sit down and rest for a while. Tired children can make the journey very difficult.
They become more susceptible to accidents and are hard to manage. In case the walks are becoming difficult to cope, it is only reasonable to cut them off even if it means stopping earlier than the planned time. The whole point of having these hikes with your children is to enjoy yourself and if you can’t, stopping is just fine.
Resting several times will enable the children to find strength and keep moving. After 20 or 30 minutes, you can give them a drink or a snack. Into the short breaks, you can integrate photo taking sessions. You can stop along the way to observe interesting creatures, art, and plants. Do not just focus on the finishing line without taking time to enjoy what is actually around you.
You should ensure that you and your children are safe. Do not hike in places that you are not certain are safe. Tell the children what they are supposed to do to remain safe. It is also important for you to carry a safety whistle. For instance, you can tell them to remain close to mom or dad at all times or in case they are lost; they can stand and give an alert by blowing the safety whistle.
Time the walk
It is important to determine the walking distance within a given period. This will help you ascertain that your children maintain sufficient stamina to go back. Children can get so tired by the time the hike is ending such that they do not have the strength to go back. You can set your watch for a given time so that when that time is over, you can turn around and walk back.
Hiking weather forecast
You should have an exact forecast on the weather on the day of hiking with kids. If the weather does not seem to favor you, don’t fear to postpone the hiking plans for the day. This is because you do not want any uncertainties with the weather especially because the children are involved. Hiking in a torrent of rain could get ugly and children are scared of thunderstorms. In addition, when the weather is too hot or too cold, it does favor the children.
Carry some clothes
Even with a good forecast on the weather, things could change along the way, and when this happens, you need to have enough clothes for them to change. Also, kids will always make themselves dirty and wet anyhow, thus the need for plenty of clothes. To make this easier on you, pack a small kids hiking backpack for each of the kids and let them carry their stuff.
Carry a travel camera
Hiking with your kids is an unforgettable time composed of interesting and memorable moments, thus you need to capture such magical events. You should take nice photos and capture some ordinary but outstanding moments that can give a detailed story of the entire adventure.
These photos will always remind you of the great times. The reason why you should bring a travel camera is that it is designed to take awesome pictures and videos even when you are on the move. Besides, with a camera bag, you can be sure it will be well protected.
Carry a first aid kit
No one wants accidents to happen, but sometimes they do. When you have children, you should know that the probability of accidents occurring shoots up. The kit does not have to be complex but just a basic one. This will ensure that you are prepared in case anything happens in these remote areas.
Assign your children roles on the hike
The idea of having imperative roles motivates children. For instance, you can make one child the leader and the other in charge of sing-alongs. These serve as distractions that ensure the child does not suffer from fatigue too soon, or boredom. You can prepare rhymes to sing beforehand, just like boy scouts!
You can tell your kids to invite their friends and their parents for the hike, and you can also do the same. This will help spice up the journey especially for the children because they will be a motivation for each other.
Children love to jest, play with each other and generally have fun. The more they are, the bigger the adventure will be. However, this means extra work hard for the parents as they would have to be extra vigilant.
Games will help divert the children’s attention and this one of the simplest means that can help them to keep moving. As you take rests, walk or stop for a snack or water, you could come up with a game. Children are always good at games thus you can tell them to start as you join them. For example, singing with sticks can be a motivating gameplay.
It is easy for children to give up and incorporating positive reinforcement can be of great help throughout the hike. You can tell them how well they are doing or they are excellent hikers. This will encourage your kids to great heights thus they will be motivated to put more efforts.
Make conversation with kids
Hiking is for not only fun but also an opportunity to bond with your kids. You can turn all the distractions off, listen to the kids attentively, engage in conversation and create a deep connection. This is a good time to chat, share good stories with them and listen to theirs.
They are going to love the attention that you are giving them, and this will take their minds off the challenges of the hike. At times it could be fatiguing for you especially when they talk a lot, but know that is for their good.
Even short hikes require that you bring some hiking gear. For example, a small backpack for kids so that they can carry their snacks, water and other items, and most importantly, dress them right, according to the letter. Cargo pants are good, nice hiking shoes too. Make them wear hats and hiking glasses. If the sun is too hot, sunscreen should be worn all round.
One child can take pictures of all the wildflowers along the trail. Another one can note the geographical features while yet another one collects insect samples. You can also assign bird watching to some children and then later when you take a break, try to identify the species.
Trails have a lot of botany, geography and zoology moments to teach your children. The age of your kids does not matter because there is something to learn for everyone, including you.
Hiking with your kids is not only fun, but it is also very educative. Will you go hiking this summer?
Show your gratitude
Your kids could have raised a ruckus, but they obeyed you throughout the hiking experience. They stuck a long even when the going got tough. Give them a treat at the end of the hike and express your gratitude in person. Hiking with kids is so much fun, almost more fun than hiking with adults. Besides, those moments leave a lasting impression.