The outdoors is a great place for children to learn. Not only is spending time in nature good for their senses, but it’s great for both their mental and physical health, too! Not to mention it’s super fun, especially if you bond as a family. Hiking is a great way to explore the outdoors with children, but as a parent, you are responsible for their health and safety.
Follow these essential tips for hiking with kids for the first time:
Choose the right trail
When choosing the location of your hike, keep in mind your kid’s age. There are plenty of family and children-friendly trails available and t’s important to take your time carefully choosing one that’s fit for your family. Visiting forums can also help – hikers who’ve actually taken their little ones hiking can offer a lot of advice and insight.
One of the key elements of a successful hike is preparedness. Prepare the appropriate clothing and footwear for the young ones (be sure you’ve checked the weather forecast), bring extra clothing and enough food, snacks and water. Even if you’re planning a short hike, expect to make many stops to rest and have snacks.
It would also be ideal to prepare a fun game like Eye Spy, Guess the Animal or some storytelling to keep the hike more interesting!
It’s essential to be realistic about your expectations. Know that there will be challenges when you’re hiking with kids, especially toddlers. A short morning hike could extend well into the afternoon. The young ones may act out from being bored, hungry or tired. Make a stop, deal with the situation then move on. If you let the mishap get to you, the rest of your hike will be affected.
Make stops to appreciate nature
Hiking isn’t all about starting and finishing a trail. To help kids appreciate nature more, let them breathe in its beauty. Make stops to take photos or to just let the children explore. If they want to check out something, let them. Just make the stops short and sweet to be able to stay on schedule.
Make it a fun bonding experience
While you’re on the trail, take this time to talk to your kids just about anything. Tells stories, a few jokes and ask them to share their own. The next time you tell them you’re going hiking, they’ll know it’s a fun family activity!
For a fun-filled experience, follow these essential tips for hiking with kids for the first time!