13 Tips for Hiking with Kids

Smart Tips for Hiking with Kids

The moment you pronounce the phrase: Go on the trail, we’re going for a hike! Your kids suddenly turn into experts in negotiation and find a thousand and one excuses not to go on a hike. Indeed, hiking is not their favorite activity. We have all heard at least once that 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 can I encourage them to join me for a nature walk?

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 Expert Tips for Enjoyable Hiking Adventures with Kids

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, especially considering the unique nature of each child. However, here are some tips and tricks to help you have successful and enjoyable hikes with your children, fostering a love for the experience!

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…

Consider the age of your kids

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 believed that a child is capable of undertaking short hikes, maintaining a pace of 1 to 2 kilometers per hour. It’s advisable not to exceed 4 hours of walking to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for the child.

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.

Find easy hiking route

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

Pick 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.

Introduce young legs

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.

Choose playful and fun places for hiking with kids

Children are often fascinated by castles, waterways, and gazebos. By weaving in the historical significance of the paths, you’re sure to capture their attention. They’ll likely embark on the journey armed with imaginary swords, ready 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.

Take or make healthy snack

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.

Kids proper hiking outfits

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

Teach them how to prepare for a hike

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!

Encourage them for setting goals

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!

10. Share the Load and Tasks

Equip the kids with appropriately sized and shaped backpacks, allowing them to carry a few lightweight essentials like a water bottle, snack, and perhaps a sleeping bag or rain jacket. Meanwhile, adults can take on the role of Sherpas, ensuring that the younger ones don’t become fatigued or discouraged along the way.

Family enjoy hiking with kids

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

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:

  • Establish intermediate objectives before reaching the final destination, such as reaching a specific hill or exploring what’s beyond it.
  • Engage your child by telling stories or providing commentary on interesting sights along the way.
  • Brush up on a repertoire of songs and rhymes to keep spirits high and add a playful element to the journey.

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!

Use fun hiking Apps

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

Encourage them to take photos while hiking

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.

Conclusion

Nurturing a connection between children and the outdoors through hiking is a valuable investment in their physical and mental well-being. Nature provides an enriching environment that stimulates curiosity, fosters a sense of adventure, and creates lasting family memories. With these tips, we hope your family hiking experiences will be filled with joy, learning, and a deep appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.

So, lace up those hiking boots, pack your essentials, and start on a journey of exploration and bonding with your children.

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