While going hiking is always going to be a challenge, what can make this enjoyable outdoor recreation even more difficult is if you choose to bring your young children along with you. Although you love your kids and likely find joy in spending time together, especially as you share your passions with them, doing long or strenuous physical activities together can go south quickly if you don’t have your expectations set firmly in reality.
So to help ensure that you have a great experience with your family hikes, here are three tips for taking young kids hiking with you.
Pick A Trail They’ll Love
What you want out of a hiking trail and what your kids are going to find enjoyable may not always be the same things. So during the hikes that you’re wanting to take your kids on with you, you’ll want to be sure that you pick a trail that they’ll love to do.
According to Rachel Walker, a contributor to Outside Online, kids generally love trails where they can climb on things like rocks, boulders, or trees while they explore the trail. Additionally, any kind of water feature, be it a stream, lake, or waterfall, will also usually be of interest to your kids. You can also pick a trail that has a lot of animal tracks, vegetation, or that has a section where your kids could use trekking poles for fun.
Bring Enough Snacks And Drinks
Regardless of how long of a hike you choose to go on or how long you plan on being on the trail, the American Hiking Society shares that it’s always a good idea to bring more snacks and drinks than you think you might need. Not only will having quite a few snacks or drinks to choose from help ensure that your kids have the energy they need to keep up with you on the trail, but snacking on the trail can help distract your kids from the work they’re putting into the hike as well as keep their mouths busy so they can’t complain as much if they’re bored, tired, or hungry.
Even if you love to hike, there are always things that could happen on the trail that could put a damper on your experience. But regardless of this, you should try your best to maintain a positive attitude throughout the entire hiking experience so that your positivity will rub off on your kids.
Along this same vein, Mason Cummings, a contributor to Wilderness.org, shares that you should also give your kids a lot of positive reinforcement and encouragement as they’re hiking with you so that they feel like you enjoy having them there and that they’re doing a good job.
If you want to start taking your young kids hiking with you, consider using the tips mentioned above to help everyone involved have a great time on the trails.