I have always been fond of nature and I love hiking! I grew up in Utah where there are endless hikes and unique places to explore… I knew I wanted to pass this love of hiking on to my children!
I think after having kids some people assume that hiking is too hard! But it’s not! Kids love being outside. As a parent you just have to change your expectations!
Here are some tips for hiking with kids:
1. Set your expectations.
Let your kids know what to expect. I always tell my kids we are going on a long walk, but it will all be worth it because there is a gorgeous waterfall at the end. Once your kids know what to expect it makes it a little easier! Also remember that you’ll probably be going a little slower as your son tries to collect every stick he finds and your daughter tries to climb all the trees!
2. Do your research.
Find out where you are going. Look at maps to see the best places to park, where the facilities are located, etc. Make sure to check the weather too. You don’t want to hike in the heat of a very hot day! You also don’t want to hike in bad weather with kids!
3. Look for fun features.
Waterfalls, lakes, cool rock formations or trees. Kids will be more motivated to walk if they know there is something to look forward to at the end!
4. Be prepared!
Bring lots of water and healthy snacks that will give both you and your kids energy. Also make sure to always pack sunscreen and bug spray. Throw in a towel, picnic blankets, jackets and a change of clothes, just in case!
5. Make a plan, but be flexible.
I always like to plan out how far we are going to go, when we will eat and any other things we might do. However, I always watch for cues from my kids to see if they need an extra break, snack or anything else.
6. Let them be curious.
My husband and I have always loved hiking, but our expectations for a hike have definitely changed. Instead of powering through, we have found that the kids enjoy it so much more when we let them be curious, explore and interact with nature! Don’t get frustrated when they want to pick up all the sticks!
7. Relax and have fun being out in nature.
On our last hike, my daughter was pointing out all kinds of things that I never would have noticed before. The shapes of the leaves, rocks of different sizes, clouds and flowers. Everything was exciting and beautiful. Take the time to talk about what they are seeing and use this fun experience to teach and bond with your kids!