It is very important for the kids to develop a life-long relationship with nature as they can learn about and fully explore the outdoor adventures. The overall hiking will be a fun experience and well-spent quality time getting in the depths of nature, exploring the wildlife and accepting we are just a part of all the majestic creations in the universe.
There is certainly the awaiting exploration of the universe but, added to that the hiking has several health benefits. The research has shown improved cognitive function and memory power with the kids that have spent quality time outdoors or hitched for a hike. Also, the improved self-esteem, mood, and sense of relaxation are the additional benefits of going for a hike. Moreover, some of the serious diseases like type-two diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure can be prevented if you teach your kids to adopt a healthy lifestyle from the very beginning. So taking them to hike will be an early step for a healthy and fulfilled life.
The modern lifestyle has welcomed less physical activities, poor and unhealthy diet as a result obesity has become quite a huge problem among the young generation. Hiking is a fun-rewarding way of balancing your children’s health with a modern lifestyle and a wonderful experience connecting with the family as a wholesome in the generation lost in the technology.
Here we are going to discuss a few tips and tricks on how to get your children involved in hiking and make a wholesome fun package out of your outdoor adventure.
1. Involve them in hiking, give some control
The best way to motivate your child for hiking is by involving them in the pre-planning of the hiking trip. Letting them in the route planning and taking into consideration if they provide any suggestions makes them feel like they are part of something major in the trip.
Let them decide which trail to follow or where to take lunch and about the specialty of the places they are about to visit. Make them part of the information collection, trail map-making and brief them about the rare species of plant, animal, and birdlife in the area; kids full of curiosity will want to explore more of the region. Also, if your children take an interest in the surroundings or any animal pay full attention and explore your child’s interest giving full attention.
2. Let your child lead within reasons
Children love it when elders look up to them and appreciate their effort. If you want your kids to feel empowered, give them a chance to lead the hiking trip, let them lead areas which are easygoing and that your children can handle. This way your children build in the leadership quality getting them pumped up about the trail up ahead as they are leading the pack.
But, let them lead within reasons where the trails are not too difficult and landscapes where too much navigation skill isn’t required. This way they will build self-confidence after successfully completing the responsible part of track. Again, be attentive about the terrains that you're hiking on and make sure your child doesn’t get far ahead in the dangerous cliffs, fast flowing rivers, deep forest etc. And, don’t let only one child to lead; rotate the turn among the children which will discourage them to argue about the leadership quality amongst themselves.
3. Make the adventure fun and flexible
As your children are involved you have to be very careful about the distance of the hike. Mostly, short routes and popular hiking reasons are preferred to keep the kids engaged with the hiking tradition. If you tire them out with a very long route on their first adventure they might lose interest in the adventure sports. Choose some ideal location near your vicinity so the children won't’ get bored or be restless during the drive.
The hiking destination with popular view towers or beautiful waterfall region, historic sites or hiking trail with stream or lakes will help the children have pleasant memories of the outdoor adventure. As people say, “the first impression is the last impression”; make sure that the first hiking expedition of your family is a wholesome fun experience, so the kids will get excited when they hear about hiking again.
4. Put up frequent stop points to rest
Walking for several hours easily drains a lot of energy, compared to adults children will get tired pretty quickly. You need to be considerate about the kids not being able to catch up to your pace. So, make sure you plan frequent rest stops along the trail where they will take a breathe and be ready to have a go at hiking again after resting for a while.
Moreover, make sure you don’t completely tire them out; if that happens the children might not want to continue the hiking. To keep them motivated you could also use stop points along the path as a hurdle they have to overcome to win this game of adventure; for instance letting them know that you are going to stop and get rewards after reaching upcoming bridge, beautiful cliff, park or highlight of that hiking region will stir them to keep moving forward.
5. Keep them entertained; play games along the trail
Along with the hiking and exploration of the beauty of nature make sure to keep your children entertained. It is hard to have quality family time if the hiking trail becomes quiet or just plain. You can create games that you can play with your children on the trail; making them look for the signs of the wildlife in the area, counting the plants, animals, and birdlife found along the path.
Furthermore, you can add the excitement in the family trip by organizing a scavenger hunt and making them look for big rocks, the largest tree or some rare specialty of the hiking zone. Also, you can sing along the trail to fire up the hiking spirit, discuss the antiquity and importance of the hiking destination, bring card games, play hide and seek or game of tag with them during the resting stops considering the rest stop topography.
6. Involve More People
If you really want to set a positive impression about hiking to your children you can invite their classmates or neighborhood family the kids are familiar with. Besides bonding with the family, the presence of the children similar to their age will make them more interested in hiking.
Further, you can invite some friends from their closet inner circle so they will be delighted all the way throughout the trip. They will build deep bonds with their friends and enjoy the fun-filled outdoor adventure activity with a high probability of them being eager for the next adventurous expedition. The hiking is more fun if more people are involved; you will feel secure and more invested in the outdoor fun rather than taking all responsibility on yourself.
7. Get Them Excited, Equip Them With Hiking Accessories
Kids by nature are curious about everything, so, preparing themselves with cool hiking tools and equipment will make children eager to use them on the coming adventure. If you manage to get their interest in some of the equipment used in hiking they will probably get more involved in the outdoor adventure.
Getting them hiking bags, new shoes especially for the trip, binoculars to enjoy the view, birds or plants identification guide will make your children keen about the trip. Besides the hiking tools, if they want to pack a few items of their own, let them carry it so they will have a sense of ownership. But, make sure they are carrying lightweight items so they won't add weight to your carriage after they get tired.
8. Set A Tradition
Take your family out often for outdoor adventures, if possible do it more than once in a month making it a family routine. This way you will set a tradition in the family as a result kids will look up for the new upcoming exploration into the wilderness every month. Children are always up for doing something new, you can look for the suitable trails that are child friendly and where your children can learn new things. Whether, it be a conservation park or urban hiking regions, the kids can learn about new things building up endurance for the next step of their life.
The modern lifestyle where children barely want to take their hands off their gadgets and phones, setting a tradition of once a month or more outdoor adventure will help them get the view of the world beyond the modern accessories.
9. Bring Their Favorite Snacks and Energy Drink
As the hiking can be an exhausting trip,make sure your children have packed their favorite snacks and energy drinks. This way they will be more excited for opening up their favorite snacks on the next pit stop. Also be mindful of carrying a few of their treasured chocolates and energy bars during the hike which you can use as bargaining chips for your children to keep moving forward until the next stop.
Besides, their beloved snacks and drinks make sure they are eating healthy as well; fruits, homemade dishes, and juices will keep your kid energized and full so they don’t get cranky along the way. Keep the children frequently hydrated, be it their prized energy drink or regular water as staying hydrated will help them maximize their physical performances and maintain the energy level, so the family adventure will go smoothly without any complications.
10. Learn When To Quit
As a planner, the most important thing if you want your kids to have a positive perspective about hiking is learning when to quit. Even with full preparation things ,don't always go the way you have planned. Be it a situation of unexpected bad weather, your kids getting exhausted or any other circumstances you need to be careful about drawing the line and not going overboard
There is always the next day all that matters is the pleasant and memorable family time that everyone is having. Hiking with family isn’t just an outdoor adventure if about forging bonds and having each other's back the whole time. If the weather is bad, postpone the program, if your children get tired praise them for how much they have accomplished with the oath of going further next time.
Some Safety Tips For The Outdoor Adventure
- Always carry first aid box in case of injury; it will better if you have basic knowledge about heat exhaustion, hypothermia, and CPR.
- Equip yourself and your children with sunblock cream as well insect repellent so it will be smooth to the end.
- You have to be well prepared for the weather situation; wear appropriate clothing as per the season of the hike, grab few additional clothes if you are hiking in the winter.
- If you are not familiar with the region,consult a park ranger or expertise for guidance; it will be better if you invite someone familiar with the hiking region along the trip.
- Be fully prepared; properly equip yourself so you won’t get lost. It will be marvelous if you can use a map as a true explorer but also carry a GPS so you can get back on track if you don’t seem to find the trail.