Going Hiking With Your Kids
It’s a great idea to introduce your children to nature from a young age.
This builds love and appreciation for nature that may carry on in their older years.
And there’s no better way to introduce children to nature than through hiking.
Hiking would also serve as a great bonding activity for you and your children.
However, children are normally a handful to take care of when out.
Hiking out in nature?
That almost seems a thousand times harder.
Therefore, we’ve put together this guide on hiking with children.
We hope that this guide helps you with planning hiking trips with your kids!
1. Remember To Keep It Child-Friendly
Always remember to keep your children and their abilities in mind when planning hikes.
This is especially important for the first few hikes you go on. You wouldn’t want a hike to be too arduous as this could potentially turn your children off hiking.
Instead, you should always try to plan for hikes that would be fun and exciting for children.
Such hikes are usually ones that include a lake, stream, river, or waterfall.
These could serve as goal landmarks and children would enjoy playing in their waters.
Alternatively, children love discovering and playing with everything.
If your children often wander off to play with the rocks or sticks in the ground, that’s alright too!
Remember, you’re trying to inculcate a love for the outdoors in your children.
Let them enjoy themselves and they will definitely grow to love it.
2.Plan For Your Hikes To Take Awhile
Out in the wilderness, you never know what might happen and similarly, you never know how long a hike would take.
When planning for hikes, don’t limit the amount of time you would have.
Sometimes you might chance upon a magical sight and choose to explore further.
This goes doubly when hiking with children.
Children naturally love discovering and exploring. In a new environment, they would be even more curious.
As such, be prepared that they would want to look at every tree and rock.
In other words, it could take a lot longer than you’d expect.
3. Be Prepared
As mentioned above, you never know what could happen out in the wilderness.
The weather could suddenly change or touchwood, someone could fall and injure themselves.
Whatever it is, it always pays to be prepared.
Therefore, always ensure that you have your hiking essentials with you.
As you are hiking with children, you’d want to include more items for them.
Wet wipes and extra clothes would be useful for when they get dirty.
Magnifying glasses and binoculars could help them see and explore more while outdoors.
A camera to take photos.
Whistles for your children to carry and use if they get lost.
You should remember to teach them to only blow and use them if they are separated from you.
Along with that, pack anything else that you think could be useful.
It’s always better to be over prepared.
4. Dress Like Expert Hikers
Dress everyone like an expert hiker.
This means layers of clothing while hiking.
You’d also want to bring extra clothes as children often get dirty.
Or extra layers for when they get cold or wet.
This would be a great help.
Hats and sunglasses would also be useful in spring and summer.
Remember, children aren’t as strong as adults and they need more protection.
Whilst you could deal with a little discomfort, children would not.
Make sure to get them the right type of footwear for the terrain you’re hiking.
This would ensure they’re comfortable and safe.
Lastly, it would be a good idea to leave a set of clean clothes in your car for after the hike.
Children are somehow always able to get themselves dirty and a hike is no exception.
5.Plan For Rest Stops
Hiking can be exhausting and this will feel doubly so for children.
Therefore, you should plan to frequently have rest stops whilst hiking.
At these stops, you should give your children little snacks and drinks.
This would ensure that their energy is fuelled up and they don’t risk dehydration.
These breaks can also serve as incentives to keep your children going when they’re tired.
Do remember to pack your children’s favourite snacks or they might simply end up not eating.
6. Let Your Children Have A Chance In Being A Leader
It’s a good idea to let your children have a chance at being a leader.
For younger children, this can be fun and empowering.
For older children, this could serve as a great lesson about responsibility.
Hiking is a great time to do this!
You could also have different leaders throughout the trek to keep it fair.
Additionally, letting them lead would mean that they would set their pace.
This ensures that you don’t accidentally go too fast for them.
7. Keep Your Hikes Fun And Entertaining
Hiking could get boring for your kids so it’s important for you to devise games to keep it fun and entertaining.
This could be anything as simple as playing a game of “I Spy” or having them look out for little animals or flowers.
This encourages them further to interact with their surroundings and could serve as a fun, educational tool too.
8. Praise Your Children!
Children love and thrive on praise.
As you hike, it would be great to constantly praise them for how well they are doing.
You could say simple things like “Wow! You’re going so fast!” and they would love it.
They might even speed up to show you how much faster they can be.
The simple act of praising is extremely positive and empowering for your child.
This could also further influence them to love hiking so, remember to praise your children often!
9. Remember To Leave No Trace
The number one rule when out in nature is to leave no trace.
As you take your children out, remember to teach them this value as it is extremely important.
This goes a long way in inculcating them about conservation.
You should always bring a giant garbage bag for all the possible rubbish you could generate.
Ask your children to help assist you whenever cleaning up and remind them about leaving no traces behind.
Additionally, you could even have your kids pick up any litter while hiking.
Remember to praise them every time they do too!
10. Plan For Frequent Family Hikes
Hiking is a great family bonding activity.
You should work to set this as a habit for you and your children.
Therefore, plan frequent hikes together.
Your children will love the adventure of it and the ability to spend time with you.
We hope that these tips help you out in planning hikes with your children.
These memories of hiking together with your children are sure to become a treasured memory for everyone.
Hi, I am Amy I have two loves in my life camping and writing. When I am not writing for The Expert Camper, I am usually camping. Lake District is one of my favourite spots, but really anywhere in the UK under canvas I am happy.