How to help your kids start hiking

Stef Zisovska
 
Hiking with kids

Are you one of those parents who always want to take the kids out into the great outdoors but you never do it? Let’s be clear, hiking with kids can be a nightmare sometimes if you are not well prepared and if you lose control over the situation. You are the responsible adult who needs to plan it all in order for the kids to enjoy their time in nature. And of course, if they enjoy it, you enjoy it too! Here are some useful tips on how to help your kids start hiking with you and never complain during the hike.

Start with park walks

No matter how passionate about hiking you and your partner are, you need to understand that you can’t just throw a 5-year old on an ascending trail for two days. It’s simply not how it works. Start taking your kids to the park from the earliest age to help them get used to nature as being something normal and a part of their everyday life. If you can do it at least for half an hour every day, your kids will develop a habit of spending time outside among the trees, and if you refuse to take them outside for whatever reason they will get angry. Then you know you’re doing a good job, and you’re creating a future hiking enthusiast that will conquer peaks one day.

Invite friends

Invite friends

If your kids are too attached to their friends and never want to leave them, then invite your kids’ friends and their parents as well. This way your kids won’t feel like you’re out to separate them from their pals. It’s always more fun when a lot of people are involved, but make sure that you get support from other adults.

Learn all about the area before taking your kids there

Let them play

Before going for a hike, make sure you know everything about the area you and your kids are visiting. Learn what kinds of trees grow there, what kinds of flowers, birds, wildlife, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, swimming holes, and any other features. Teach your kids about the insects you see and encourage them to ask questions. Hiking with kids is not only a physical activity but an educational one as well. Fill those curious heads with new information and let them explore.

Be excited about hiking yourself

If your kids see that you are getting excited about the planned hiking trip next weekend, they will become curious about it and probably want to join you without you having to coax them. When a kid shows interest in something you think is useful to them, don’t miss the opportunity, and make it happen as soon as possible. The most beautiful thing is to go hiking with your family and make sure everybody enjoys it.

Let them get dirty

Getting dirty is fun!

Getting dirty and playing with mud is awesome! Let your kids know about all the games you can play in the wilderness and that they can become explorers and get as dirty as they want. To encourage them to do it, jump in the mud yourself and start chasing them around. All kids love it.

Teach them not to leave garbage behind

Teach your kids to respect nature and to collect all the garbage they find on the trail. Make special bags attached to their backpacks where they can put all the trash that someone had left behind.

Find walking sticks

Instead of buying trekking poles, it’s more interesting and creative to find ones in the forest. Look for old branches and make the right size for each kid. It is nice to walk in nature using items from nature. Good luck!

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