Clever Tips to Follow When Hiking with Toddlers
Getting your child to step outside and enjoy the beauty of nature can often feel challenging in this information age. In most cases, your kid may find the idea of plodding through the woods or mountains an incredibly unexciting and strenuous task.
However, although hiking may seem grueling and demanding to your child, there are several ways for them to enjoy this activity without feeling exhausted and worn out.
So, to help you get the best out of your next family hike, we have gathered amazing tips and tricks to make your walk feel smooth and manageable. By following this guide, your children will be begging you for their next hike in no time!
Don’t Start with the Longest Trail
If you are an experienced hiker, you likely want to challenge yourself with the longer and more difficult trails each time. However, we generally don’t recommend doing this when you go hiking with kids. Remember, your children are much slower walkers than adults. Their shorter legs and shallower stamina often mean that a hike that takes you an hour may take them as many as three hours to complete.
This difficulty a child may experience on their first few hikes is one of the core reasons we always recommend starting with the most straightforward trail you can find. You should also pick a hiking route that is as short as possible. Once your children complete this walk, they will feel overcome with confidence and motivation and will become eager for their next hike.
Don’t Hesitate to Take Breaks
A lack of stamina is one of the core reasons your child may avoid hiking, as they may feel they are slowing down the group each time they stop to catch their breath. However, if your kids are only kickstarting their hiking journey, there is little chance that they will have as much energy for a long walk as you do. This lack of stamina as a beginner is one of the core reasons why paying close attention to your child during the hike is always necessary.
If you notice your kid is beginning to look tired while walking, don’t hesitate to tell the entire group to stop, as this will allow them to catch their breath. This break will also give them more energy for the walk’s next phase. Alternatively, as younger children may not mind their parents carrying them for a significant part of the trail, you may choose this route instead of stopping the entire group.
You must also ensure that you do not look downcast while your kid is recovering their energy but remain motivated and energetic instead. This drive will give your child a boost to complete the trail. As you continue to take more hikes with your family, your children will experience an increase in stamina, resulting in fewer breaks for the entire group.
Don’t Forget the Right Gear
One of the core misconceptions about hiking is that you must give up your trails for some time while your child is old enough to hike with you. Yet, this could not be further from the case. Today, there are tons of hiking gear available that make it straightforward to go on a quick and easy hike with your few-weeks-old child. However, to ensure your walk is as smooth as possible, you must prepare for all conditions.
In addition to stocking up on an effective baby carrier, you will also want to ensure your pack has a good rain cover in case the weather beats you to the end of the trail. Before your hike, you must also remember that your baby is generally not going to be doing any walking at all, so be sure to dress them accordingly.
We cannot overstate the benefits of taking your first hike as a new mom. Completing a hiking trail gives you a fantastic opportunity to get out of the house with your newborn, lift your spirits, and get you doing the things that you love again.
Give them a Chance to Experience the Nature Around Them
One of our core beliefs is that completing a hike is only half of the journey. Instead, the true beauty of a trail often lies within it. This allure of nature is why one of our top tips for getting your children into hiking is to allow them to observe their trail. Remember, most kids are naturally curious and always glad to learn about a world they are just beginning to experience.
If you choose a rocky trail on a hike, give them a moment to look through any captivating rock formations and be prepared to answer any questions they may have. Alternatively, if you find yourself on a path filled with small wildlife and plants when hiking with kids, don’t hesitate to give them a moment to take a good look at them. The memories of these experiences are bound to last a lifetime.
There’s Nothing Wrong with Turning Back
If you are a seasoned hiker, the thought of turning back is bound to send shivers down your spine. However, the moods and emotions of your children should always be your priority. If they are beginning to look tired or worn down and need a break every few minutes, we recommend asking them if they are still up for it. In some cases, they may share your motivation to complete the walk and will be willing to push forward, while in other scenarios, they may feel it is best if the entire family returns home.
If you do choose to take a U-turn, you should try as much as possible to remain motivated and happy, as the last thing we all want is for our kids to feel like they have disappointed us. Instead, mark the hike as a challenge for the family, and feel free to return to it when your kids have stronger legs and have been able to rack up a few more hikes.