If you want to introduce your children to the great outdoors, there’s no better way to do so than with a hike. You can explore the depths of the woods, see beautiful waterfalls and encounter a variety of animals. However, while lengthier adventures are fun, they can also be stressful.
Here are a few bits of advice to keep in mind so that you can make your family excursions memorable.
Choose a Scenic Route
If your kids have to stare at the same types of trees for hours on end, they won’t be too happy. Choose a trail that features a lot of natural beauty. Children love to climb on large rocks and tree stumps. Waterfalls and other bodies of water are also crowd-pleasers. You can give your family a goal to reach – maybe there’s a historic bridge at the end of the hike. This way, they’ll have a mission to accomplish.
The route you pick shouldn’t be challenging, but it needs to have different features to keep everyone interested.
Bring the Right Gear
It’s necessary to bring along age-appropriate equipment and clothing for this trip. For babies, make sure you have a backpack carrier. Toddlers and younger kids need small water bottles and a sturdy pair of tennis shoes. Grade-schoolers and teenagers should pack a whistle so that they can alert others if they wander away and get lost.
All children need to wear breathable pants and shirts. If it’s cold or rainy, an outer shell is essential. Take extra socks for everyone – wet gear will make your hike a lot less fun. Hats and gloves are crucial too. Dress in layers for optimal comfort. If one kid overheats, she should be able to remove a windbreaker and have a t-shirt underneath.
In terms of gear, you’ll want to over-prepare. Take a look at the weather before you leave so that you pack the right items.
Deal With Tough Situations
Let’s face it – at least one of your kids will have a meltdown. Maybe they’ll be bored or tired, but no matter the issue, it’s essential to address it adequately. Take a short break and talk to them. They could need a sip of water or a granola bar. Perhaps their shoes are too tight. Find out what the problem is so that you can find a solution. Encourage your child to take a deep breath and count to 10. Remind them about the beauty of the hike and why it’s supposed to be fun.
Then, continue as usual. Even if their mood gets you down, try not to show it. Your children will feed off of your energy and perk up in no time.
Take Food and Drinks
Because you’re about to hike for miles, you’ll need snacks at the ready. You can choose from several different healthy choices – like mixed nuts, dried fruits and protein bars. Bring multiple canisters of water and coffee, so everyone remains hydrated and alert. If you have a baby, be sure to bring enough milk or formula.
You can also pack a lunch if you’re able to transport it properly. Meat and cheese sandwiches and soups are terrific meals that provide a ton of fuel. Make sure to chill perishable items in a bag or cooler.
Plan Breaks Ahead of Time
Before you leave, research the trail you want to hike. Look for spots along the way where you can take breaks. Children, both young and old, will likely need to stop a few times throughout the day. Figure out where these points are and write them down. On a similar note, make sure that you know the location of every trailhead. If someone needs to head back to the car, you’ll want to be able to do so quickly.
Use These Tips for a Kid-Friendly Hike
Kids can experience the wonder of nature through a long hike – they just need a bit of help along the way. Use these tips to tackle your next family excursion and make it as memorable as possible.