Tips for Hiking With Kids
Sometimes getting out with kids can seem daunting. All the things to remember, all the attitudes that might happen, the possibility of a nap being missed. It could all go wrong but it could also go really, really, right. We have been getting out and about with our kids since they were born. So we thought we would share from our experience somethings we have learned along the way.
1. Use check lists. As a parent you know that the list of things to bring seems never ending. Snacks, drinks, sacred blankets, binkeys, a hat, sunglasses, sun screen, baby carrier, extra clothes, diapers, wipes, oh my gosh, the stuff! No one can remember everything. So, use check lists. It will greatly reduce the likely hood of ending up at the beach with no towels…I have done that.
2. Stay Positive. If you are enjoying yourself, your kids are more likely to enjoy themselves. Staying positive starts with you. You set the tone. Start happy, calm and ready for an adventure. If something goes wrong, laugh it off and keep going, unless the something wrong is serious and needs immediate action, then do that, of course, keep those priorities straight.
3. It’s about the long term. Your kids might whine, cry, throw a fit or just generally be unpleasant. But that is ok, because the goal is to grow your kids into adventure loving humans. Humans with fond memories of nature that in turn want to care for and protect the places they are so fond of.
4. Just Do it…like Nike. At first it might be like pulling teeth…don’t assume that though (See number 2 ;). My kid that is most likely to whine, doesn’t while hiking, at all. Leave room for your kids to surprise you. And if everything falls apart at least you tried. Don’t give up. It might take a few hikes for your kids to get used to the idea of being outside and working hard…depending on your current lifestyle. We find that once we are out and moving bad attitudes fade away, everything fades away. We all breathe the fresh air and it resets us all. It’s like magic. Not all the time, sometimes there is a whiny, crying mess but most the time, magic.
5. Don’t give up! If you ‘just do it’ and everything that could goes wrong. Diaper blow outs, missed naps, someone falls in the water, a scraped knee, bad attitudes and starts raining. Don’t swear it off. Just call your self a pro now and try again. Practice makes perfect. People always comment about how much we are out and about and how I must be amazing or something. Well, I am. 😉 But really we have just had practice. Lots of practice. This practice has made us not even think twice about getting out with our kids. The practice is good for them too. They get comfortable with the adventures and learn how to behave and it becomes normal. Grumpiest happen much less often when they are opporating inside of their normal life. So, keep at it. Every experience can be useful for learning, so no trip is a wasted trip.
6. Find a favorite spot. Once you just do it, find a spot close to your house that you enjoy going to. Having a ‘go to’ spot makes it easy to get out of the house. If you can’t think of a new place to try, have only a few hours or just don’t have the energy to blindly try a new place, go with the favorite. Not only does having a ‘go to’ spot make getting out of the house easier it is a really great way to see the seasons in your area. We have a favorite spot that we have seen drastically change through drought and rainy seasons, We have seen butterflies, wildflowers and tadpoles in spring. We have seen salamanders in late winter. Snakes and deer in summer and pretty fall leaves in autumn.
7. Keep everything ready to go. Well, mostly. We don’t keep water in our hydro backpacks, and I would encourage you not to either. What I mean by ‘ready’ is not putting everything away deep in the garage. We have an entryway shoe cabinet that keeps our shoes and bags and things on it and ready. If you hate the visual clutter than a cabinet might be your best bet. But, keep everything you need for exploring and adventuring at the ready. That way, the night before or even the day of you can quickly get ready. Like fill water bottles, grab towels and food and such. If I had to go digging every time we went out it just wouldn’t happen as often. I will admit that I depend on having things together too much and have forgotten things that I thought were packed and were not, like towels when we were going to the beach or sunglasses. That’s when checklists come in handy. A once over and your good to go.
8. Do it together. Hike together, learn together. Everything is more fun when you do it together. Get guides and learn to identify trees, birds, insects. When you get home google it and learn more, watch a YouTube video about it. Watch cool nature tv shows together. When your kids see you learning, taking an interest, seeking out adventure and knowledge they will want to to. Some kids will hang on your every word and want to be just like you, other kids will act not interested and may never show you how you have effected them, but you do. Model the good, they will follow.
I could go on and on about all the ways to make hiking with kids easier. But no amount of planning or positivity will matter if you don’t just go and try it. Try it and stick with it. If it matters to you then don’t give up. Kids are so adaptable, occasionally whiny but also adaptable. Doing rewarding things isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it in the end. So, be encouraged, we have had our fair share of whining, crying, fits and eye rolls while getting out with our kids. Shake it off and keep on hiking eventually the fresh air and endorphins will kick in!
Let us know in the comments below any tips you have for hiking with kids or just getting out in general, we love adding to our arsenal!
Get up, get out and go adventuring!