Having kids is no reason to stop hiking. If you’d love to pass along your love of the outdoors (or foster a new family tradition) here are 5 quick tips to get you going.
- Adjust your expectations – You might not finish the whole hike the first time and that’s ok. Typically a child can walk 1km for every year of their age but don’t expect a 5 year old who has never been on a hike to meet that expectation rather make it a long term goal for the season.
- Stop LOTS – I remember a friend telling me once “I like hiking with you because you take lots of breaks for snacks.” It’s ok to stop for a bite to eat and smell the roses when you are hiking, in fact it’s encouraged! Hiking with your kids is about the journey NOT the destination.
- Know where you are headed – Even kids are goal oriented. If there is a waterfall at the end of the trail that makes for excellent motivation to keep going. Maybe there is a huge boulder or other landmark that can give them bearing for “how much farther?”
- Let your child bring a friend – The power of social influence and conformity should never be underestimated.
- Be a good role model – As you are hiking talk about what you see. Ask questions for your child to ponder. Look for signs of wildlife, unique and familiar foliage.
If the hike/walk is going well, consider heading home a little early. Better to end early on a positive note then push on in the face of waning enthusiasm.
WHAT TO BRING
Enjoying your time on the trail calls for the Boy Scout model of “Be
Krystal Williams-Gardener started Kamloops Parents in 2007 and is now the owner/director of Loving Learning Preschool where they offer Waldorf & outdoor based preschool classes for children aged 3-6.
She actively studies child development & anthroposophy (a philosophy of inner development & spiritual growth) and strives to inspire parents to be their best selves for the highest good of all man-kind.