Tips for Parents Who Want to Go Hiking with Children
Are you an avid hiker who would like to bring young children for a hiking experience? If you have given up hiking because you don’t have the time now that you became a parent, realize that you can bring your kids along for the experience! Yes, there is a lot to explore when you take your children out into nature with you, even if it can be a big challenge. Here are some tips to make it a worthwhile time for everyone.
Plan for a Longer Trip
Kids will want to explore, or have rough moments, or sometimes just walk slower than you. You will need to factor this into how much time you plan for your hiking trip. Figure on around a half-hour extra for each hour the trek would last for you. Besides, you’ll want your kids to be able to get their fill of being out in the wilderness!
Stop to Ramp Up Energy and Morale
What goes along with this is that your little ones (and yes, even you) will need to make some frequent stops to gather up your energy. Kids can become cranky fast if all they’re doing is seemingly plodding along through the woods or another type of terrain, with no end in sight. Bring along a couple of snacks and plenty of refreshing drinks for everyone.
Preparation Is Key
Make sure that you have plenty of personal care items with you, and that you get a bathroom break in before you start out on the trail. You should have some maps or field guides, tissues, wet wipes, sunglasses, sunscreen, binoculars, and anything else that would help make the trip easier and more memorable. Also, you should dress accordingly, meaning that you’ll need comfortable shoes for everyone, long pants (or put plenty of bug spray on if it’s too hot for that!), sun hats and also bring along jackets and extra socks if someone gets wet and/or muddy.
Choose (and Switch) a Leader
Kids always love to feel as though they are in charge, and what better way to give them some responsibility than to act as a trail leader? Give your child a map or field guide if he or she can read it, and switch off leaders at intervals of about 10-15 minutes (or less if it suits your group). Your children will feel so important and have a more interactive experience than if you were to be at the forefront the whole time.