Hiking with kids can seem like a daunting task. I know it’s hard to believe, but getting kids out of the four walls and into nature has so many benefits. From happier moods to learning and exploring.
Patience – Without this you will only get frustrated and everyone will end up resenting the time outdoors. This was a real tough one for me personally. I was the one that would rush to the top and then enjoy the time there then rush back down. Kids have a whole different agenda. I’m sure they love the top of the mountain or the waterfall but they also see the beauty of the entire hike. They help us slow down and take in our surroundings pointing out all the flowers, sticks and rocks.
Lower your expectations – Some days kids will almost out hike us, and other days they just aren’t feeling it. That’s okay, sometimes barely making it out of the parking lot happens. While we all want to strive to finish the hike, sometimes kids have other plans. Don’t feel like you failed, just getting out is what matters.
Snacks – Bring twice as many snacks as you think you will need. Kids get extra hungry when running about. I’m sure they do twice the steps as us cause they are so busy running back and forth and exploring with those little legs.
Good gear – This is key to happy kids and parents. Good gear doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be expensive, it just means you need to make the right choices for the climate you are in. The right layers also play a big role in this. There are lots of second hand items you can pick up relatively inexpensive on local buy and sell sites. Two items we buy new are hiking boots as well as rain gear. We do extensive hiking and our girls almost wear out their boots before outgrowing them. Also, we are in the elements for multiple days at a time and we rely heavily on our rain gear.
Listen to your kids – They are usually upset for a reason. It could be a very quick fix if you just stop and find out what’s going on. It could be a multitude of things from hunger to bordom to something in their shoe or just wanting to hold your hand.
Motivation – Describing the trail and the destination lets our kids get excited for whats to come. We also have a little stash of trail mix or gummy treats to help motivate when needed.
Build up – If you are just starting out, or early season, pick shorter hikes as a warmup to the longer ones. You don’t want to burn them out on their first hike.
Learning opportunities – The one-on-one time spent holding hands on the trail sparks many conversations that are also filled with opportunity to learn. From questions about the trees and plants we are seeing to counting to spelling and the alphabet, kids are sponges and this is the opportune time to take advantage of making learning fun while also covering a lot of ground.
And last but not least, HAVE FUN – Some days everyone will rock it and other days might feel like a chore being out on the trail. You showed up and that’s what matters. There will be days when you barely get out of the parking lot and need to turn around, but that’s okay. For us, day hikes seem to be more of a struggle then overnight backpacking trips. We still haven’t figured out the reason, but we are guessing it is because the kids look forward to getting there, setting up a tent and staying the night. While we usually pick day hikes with a great feature like a lake or waterfall, some days can still be a struggle.
One thought on “9 Tips For Hiking With Kids”
Hello, I’m a Nana, and a GG to a 16 mo ole go getter boy! I read your article, it all totally makes sense to me! Your lil gals are such troopers, I’ve enjoyed following your hiking experiences…Patienceis a IG one for me, but I haven’t seen our lil guy for a year, happy to say his Mom and Nan have him out in the outdoors we will be able to take him out in May when we go up to visit for 3 weeks thanks again for your wonderful trip updates ❤️x4
LikeLiked by 1 person