Taking your kids hiking is a great way to build memories that will last a lifetime, not to mention instill an appreciation for the great outdoors. However, it’s not a task for the faint of heart, and it takes some planning to keep the kids happy and their parents sane. Here are some tips for hiking with kids.
Start out small and adventurous.
If you’re just getting into hiking with kids, you’ll want to start out small. Short hikes packed with plenty of things to check out is the way to go. Make sure your trail has something to keep the kiddos interested, like rock formations, waterfalls, etc. Stay on the kids’ agendas, not yours.
Plan on hikes taking longer.
A trail that you can normally walk on your own in a couple of hours may take much longer. It’s not necessarily because the kids walk slower, but they may want to stop and explore things along the way that adults take for granted.
Pack your bag with plenty of supplies.
Make sure you bring along plenty of sunscreen, bug spray, wet wipes, etc. Also, you’ll want to have your camera ready and maybe a good pair of binoculars for bird watching. Also, have a good first aid kit and provide each child with a safety whistle, as well as instructions on how/when to use them.
If you’re an avid hiker, you know the importance of dressing in layers. It’s even more important for kids because they’re going to get hot/cold quicker and more frequently than you are. Make sure you have the clothing to keep them comfortable at any temperature and in all weather.
Take food and water breaks.
You know the kind of energy it takes to hike, and your little ones will be working even harder than you are. Make sure you’re taking plenty of breaks so the kids can rehydrate and grab a snack.
Do it often!
Make hiking with kids a part of your family routine. Hit the trail at least once a month and try to go to new places. Your kids will come to appreciate the outings and look forward to them. At the same time, you’ll be showing them how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and foster a love of adventure that will last them a lifetime.