The moment you pronounce the phrase: Go on the trail, we’re going for a hike! Your kids suddenly turn into an expert in negotiation and find a thousand and one excuses not to go on a hike.
It’s true, hiking is not their favorite activity. We have all heard at least once hiking is useless!
Yes, your kids see no interest in going for a walk and hiking, that is the root of the problem. You would like him to love hiking as much as you do, so your big question is: how to make them want to go for a walk in nature?
We are going to give you some tips for hiking with kids so that the hike is no longer a burden for them. Open your eyes, this article could revolutionize your weekends and save you a lot of inconveniences when it comes to going for a walk with your family.
13 Pro Tips for Hiking with Kids – Step By Step
Of course, there is no miracle recipe, especially when you know that each child is different! But, here are some tips and tricks to try to hike well with your children and make them love it!
1. Consider the Age of Your Kids
For a successful hike, it is imperative to take into account the age of the kids. It is not up to the child to adapt to us, but to us to adapt to the child…
Up to 3 years:
Even if a kid knows how to walk, he is not able to take a long walk. But that does not prevent you from going on hikes, thanks to the essential baby carrier.
When our kids were small, we used a classic back carrier with protection against the sun. It is a very nice little extra that does not prevent us from putting a hat on the child. The cuddly toy has always been part of the hikes, attached to the baby carrier to avoid losing it or constantly picking it up…
Today there are many models, as well as other carrying solutions. Whatever system is chosen, do not hesitate to invest in quality equipment. Because it is in the interest of your child, just like that of the wearer: the child must be installed comfortably, and whoever door must be comfortable also.
To be used until the age of about 3 years, the baby carrier is for me a really very precious ally for all parents of young children!
From 4 to 7 years old:
From the age of 4, it is estimated that a child is capable of carrying out small courses, at the rate of 1 to 2 kilometers per hour, knowing that it is advisable not to exceed 4 hours of walking.
From 8 years old:
From this age, you can lengthen the steps and consider a hike of 10 to 15 kilometers. This estimate is especially valid for the plain. Because in the mountains, more than the distance, it is above all necessary to take into account the total duration of the walk, its difficulty, and the difference in altitude.
2. Choose a Rather Easy Route
Do your kids have bad memories of the hike? No need to add a layer with a long and difficult route. Start with a 2-hour walk under the sun. Prepare your route well and find out about the elevation and the difficulty of the route so as not to be surprised.
Don’t forget the caps and sunscreen! Believe us, they won’t be able to resist a nice walk under the sun for long!
3. Choose the Ideal Time for the Hike
To motivate the troops and keep a good atmosphere, we avoid leaving when it is too hot in summer (so we get up early) or too cold in winter (departure around 11 a.m. at that time), leaving in the rain, or on paths that are too hard and dangerous for the little ones (too steep, on a ridge that is too narrow, etc.)
4. Introduce Young Legs
Introduce young legs to long-distance hiking with first an extended walk (up to 2 hours) in a natural setting near you. Then move on to a half-day trail hike.
To motivate them, offer them their own backpack (be careful that it remains light). On subsequent rides, let them carry a little more weight.
5. Choose Playful and Fun Places
Nothing motivates a kid. So why not take the opportunity to take them on a hike? Show them that hiking isn’t just about walking. It’s also about having fun and discovering. They have to approach hiking as a game! So choose routes where they can discover things that interest them and where the adventure is exciting.
kids love castles, waterways and gazebos. You will surely succeed in attracting their attention thanks to the history of the paths and they will surely leave, sword in hand to conquer nature!
Our Tip: use the landscape to launch games such as jumping on rocks or racing up a tree, favoring places where they can find beacons themselves, they love that the initiative comes from them!
6. The Essential of the Walk: The Snack
Ahhh the snack! How could we do without it? It dissipates your hunger and restores balm to the heart after a difficult day; but above all, he has the superpower to motivate your kids. It will then be your best ally to go hiking with them.
Are we going to have a snack in the forest?!” is infallible. You can prepare a snack with the help of your kids before going on a walk. Or, find a route on which you can find a small cafe where a glacier will border your route.
In addition, we know that kids are not the only ones who love ice cream… What happiness!
7. Provide Them with the Hiker’s Outfit
Children love to play roles, and getting into the character of the perfect hiker is sure to please them! Sticks, good hiking shoes, a map, a small backpack, a camera, and a great picnic will do.
As for babies, we think in diapers! A technical, breathable first layer that dries quickly so you don’t get cold after sweating, a sweater, and a more or less warm windbreaker (down jacket) if you’re going to altitude! A cap, or neckerchief.
8. Involve Them in the Preparations
Do not hesitate to involve them in the preparations for the hike: find together the route you are going to follow, have them follow the markers, and above all show them the map of the route so that they learn to find their way around! This game will stimulate them and you will have good surprises!
9. Encourage Them in the Effort by Setting Goals with a Reward
A slightly difficult hill, a rocky path, a dangerous ridge? Nothing will stop them if you help and encourage them!
Little Tip: plan a picnic at the top, or explain to them that from above we will have a beautiful panorama, a lake, a valley, a historical site, and marmots. Everything is good to take! And above all, tell them how proud you will be of them when they have done it, and so are they!
Give the kids a kid’s backpack (adapted to their size and morphology) and let them carry a few light items (water bottle, snack, sleeping bag or rain jacket). Adults will play Sherpa so the younger ones don’t get exhausted or discouraged.
Share The Tasks: involve your child in setting up the shelter, and preparing the campfire (they are often very good at finding branches bigger than them!). Children seem to grasp the concept of taking care of nature more intuitively than adults, so it is usually very natural for them to clean up any traces of their passage.
11. Motivate Your Child While Hiking
To motivate your child as much as possible and make the ride a pleasant one, here are some simple tips:
- Define objectives to be achieved along the way, before the final objective: “we go to the small hill over there and we look at what is behind”…
- Tell stories or comment on what you see along the way.
- Revise the repertoire of songs and rhymes.
12. Download Fun Apps
Do your children ask you questions about a pretty flower, a strange plant, or a century-old tree? We have the solution for you: an application that will allow you to identify everything that grows in nature!
To your delight, your kids will go on a plant hunt armed with your smartphone. They will be happy to discover nature and will not see the hike pass, and you will be in heaven!
13. Take Photos
kids love to look back on their exploits, and what will be left of a great ride to prove to the world that they did it is photos. So why not do it? During the hike, let them do it, they will love collecting their own memories and immortalizing what will mark them during the walk.
Spending time outdoors is essential to the development of kids. What better than nature, this fun, healthy, varied, and free playground? Hiking is therefore an excellent way to help them appreciate all the beauty and adventure offered by the world of nature. Children can share magical moments with the family, and create beautiful memories.
We hope that these few tips will be useful for a serene and successful approach to family hiking!