Hiking with Kids and Tips for Surviving It!

Hiking with kids is exhausting, but mainly in the run up to it. Once you get out there with your little tribe, it is so worth all the effort to get your family ready to hit the trails 🙂 I know only too well the effort it takes getting small people ready to go outside, especially during a Swedish winter.  I have a blog post dedicated to the whys and wherefores, joys and frustrations over at this link http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/we-are-going-out-in-quite-a-while/ Today I want to talk more about why it is so good for families to get out there and go hiking with kids, and offer some handy tips for making it more enjoyable.  In the future I will be writing more about how we prepare and the logistics of what we take.  First off, as the parent, you need to stay motivated and focus on the end goal of getting out there, knowing that everyone will be happier, have a great adventure together, and be immersed in nature.  To motivate everyone else through that door you need to be motivated!  I also try and let my trio experience a range of weather conditions (within reason!).  I am careful not to make hiking a sunny day only activity, as with the right clothing, fun can be had in most weathers.  Want to know about why it is so good hiking with kids and tips to make it great for everyone?  Read on……

Why Go Hiking with Kids?

  1.  They need to be in the great outdoors.  It is good for their development, self esteem, and makes them healthier.
  2. They need exposure to nature and wildlife.  Their enjoyment of nature will help protect it in the future.  If they have experienced it and been immersed in it, they are more likely to want to nurture and conserve it in future…you are investing in nature’s future as well as your child’s.
  3. They are learning new skills…they climb, they run, they negotiate together, they learn to take risks more and manage those risks, as well as learning skills such as looking after themselves in the great outdoors, some basic survival skills, using a compass, and using a map.
  4. They are exercising!  Need I say more 🙂
  5. Out on a hike, everyone can truly unplug, leave screens and technology behind, forget about jobs in the home, and it gives an opportunity to reconnect together as a family.
  6. Hiking is known to be a stress buster, therefore increasing happiness and decreasing stress.

Tips to Survive Hiking with Kids.

  1.  Make sure you are carrying secret, emergency bribes.  Tired little legs sometimes need encouragement of the sweet variety.  It boosts morale, provides a little energy boost and you are good to go a little further.  Some days you may not need them, but keep them with you at all times!
  2. Take some props.  Our favourites are compasses, torches (winter), binoculars, bug pots, and cameras.  This in turn can lead to little tasks to help them along the trail’s way….we also like looking for tracks, especially in the winter snow.
  3. Plan the hike a little around food and play.  When I take my three trolls out, we hike a while, then I plan at least an hour, more like a 1.5-2 hour stop, then hike a little more.  During that stop they play and I cook.  They climb, adventure, explore, paddle or anything else that takes their fancy.  I get a fire going and we all get hot morale boosting food.  They will tackle the second stage of the hike with renewed enthusiasm even though they’ve still been expending energy throughout the break.
  4. Pitch your hike at their level…the distance to be covered, the weather conditions, the terrain.  However, feel free to stretch them a little bit.  Just get the balance right.
  5. Have little games up your sleeve to play….I don’t mean card or board games…I mean little games using nature while you are walking.  Or suggest a small stop to pick berries that can then be munched on route.
  6. Allow time, lots of it, and more again.  There is nothing worse than trying to hurry children along, they naturally get slower doing that.  They need to go at their pace, and not just their walking pace.  Their pace of life….looking, experiencing, collecting things all along the way.
  7. Take lots of food, and lots of water to make sure you are not caught short with the essentials.  These 2 things can alter a child’s mood substantially when the going gets tiring!

If you like the idea of hiking with your children and as a family, there are lots of hiking websites out there for inspiration and advice.  I like looking at https://highpeakshiking.com it’s a great site for the hiking community to share experiences, tips, and inspiration 🙂  I enjoy just browsing through and getting ideas or being a little nosy!  So go on, get planning your adventure!

Hiking with Kids and tips for surviving it, hiking children, outdoors, nature, children outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

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41 Comments

  1. Fab post and some great photos! I feel the prepping is often more off putting and stressful than the actual event! But these are some great tips and some I will be putting into action the next time I’m out, especially the one about taking props! #familyfunlinky

  2. Oh I have no doubt hiking is a great activity for all the family, especially children. At 2 and 3 I fear mine are a little young yet but I certainly hope it’s something we’re able to do as they get older. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  3. My parents used to take us hiking all the time growing up. I now understand just how much effort that must have taken them. #DreamTeam

  4. I love your reasons for getting out hiking with littles and we’re a huge advocate for exactly the same reasons! We’re trying to build up our littlest’s stamina with shorter nature walks at the moment but can’t wait to pick up the pace and get into the wilderness when we can! Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x

    • I’m so pleased, you see the benefits too 🙂 It takes a little time but my double trouble were able to head out for a few hours carrying a small back pack by the time they were 4. They whinge to start with but soon forget they are carrying stuff and enjoy the hike!

  5. Gorgeous photos and great tips! We do a lot of walking as a family and have done since the kids were little. Our 2 year old will regularly walk the 3 mile round trip to school and back because walking is something that we do for fun, and so it doesn’t seem like a chore to her. I definitely agree with planning the trip around something (e.g. a picnic or a playground part way or visiting a landmark) – it gives a purpose to the trip and something to motivate them. #sharingthebloglove

  6. Sounds like you’re having a ball. I’m surprised the gaming industry haven’t come up with a “virtual hike” game to give our kids just one more way not to go do the real thing.

    • Oh dear, that would be sad…nothing like the real thing!! My three whinge before we leave but have a blast once out 🙂

  7. Looks like you had fab time great photos Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  8. Wonderful tips! My husband and I love to walk and to be outside in general, and although my 3 year old does too, his energy levels can peter off quite quickly. So far I’ve only tried the bribes, so there are loads of ideas for us to try here – he’s a big fan of a prop, so I’m definitely trying that on our next walk! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  9. I love that you go hiking with your little ones. I’m not sure Im brave enough to do a big walk, but a little trek sounds manageable. I had a little giggle over your secret bribes. Fab idea and will definitely have to remember this when we are out and about. Thanks so much for joining us for the #dreamteam x
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…Bloggers #DreamTeam Linky 81 with myself, Bridie By The Sea & Rhyming With WineMy Profile

  10. Love this post. So many good reasons to get out hiking with kids and great tips for making it enjoyable. I always find having things to spot along the way and plenty of food and snacks helps a lot. Getting out of the house is often the most challenging part! #sharingthebloglove
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) recently posted…Moments that make life magical: an afternoon at Langley ParkMy Profile

  11. Lovely post, but I just want to add that sometimes you can be as motivated and energetic as you want and the hike will still just go to pot. We live in the UK countryside and are out most days with our dog. We have a 2-year-old and 8-month-old so we’re really in the thick of physical dependency and having to carry our children. We love walking – we really do – but sometimes it is just too hard! Not wanting to be a spoil sport, but just realistic! Hiking is AWESOME and 9 times out of 10 makes our whole family feels refreshed and tired in equal measures. Just be aware that you’re never going to hit the spot every time 😉 #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Thankyou, yes I totally agree….as with my 2 competitive 5 year old twins and a bossy 9 year old, things can be very up and down during the hike too!!xx

  12. There are some great tips here – my boys are 4 and 2 and we went on a few short walks in the woods when we were on holiday a few weeks ago. My husband is keen to the the older one out doing some proper hiking soon though so we’ll definitely take some of your ideas on board 🙂 #SharingTheBlogLove

  13. Thank you for the post, Sonia! I’ve given serious thought to giving hiking a go with my 5-year-old twins and your article has inspired me to commit to it! I’ll be referring back to this one, for sure.
    #sharingthebloglove

    • Ahhh thankyou 🙂 As a mummy of 2 exuberant (just turned 6 on Monday) boy twins and a 9 year old daughter I know how you feel! I’m pleased it has made you feel that way as that is what my blog is there for so you’ve made me very happy 🙂

  14. Lots of great tips there. The fresh air and exercise is so good for them

  15. We have always loved hiking, no matter what the weather (although Autumn has always been a favourite.) Some great tips here.
    #countrykids

  16. What a great round up of tips and tricks for enjoying hiking with the kids, it’s amazing what little things you can do to encourage a family walk. It’s so important to go and walk with the kids, the fresh air and adventures in the great outdoors are so important for their development. Emergency treats and games are always great for that final piece of encouragement that kids need to finish their walk.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids

    • Yes it definitely all helps to keep the whining down to the minimum and get them out hiking, which is so good for them 🙂

  17. We don’t do as much hiking as I would like! Need to do more as we live next to the lake district!
    Becky Willoughby recently posted…Fell Running Challenge #1 HelmMy Profile

  18. Some great tips there, I love walking with my son and he’s very good really. A love of nature is something i’m very proud he shares with me #CountryKids

  19. I love the idea of hiking with N, but it’s really not my thing unless there’s lots of things to see and look at rather than just fields. N will go out beating on shoot days and walk miles for that with breaks in between, but make him walk too far normally without a friend to distract him, and he’ll moan all the time. #countrykids

  20. I love and agree with everything in this post.
    I get mine out for long walks in the fresh air as often as we can but really need to start stepping thing up like this in the New Year. #countrykids
    Emma Chanagasubbay recently posted…Pines And Needles:A Family AffairMy Profile

  21. This post had me nodding in agreement all the way through! Beautiful photos and how I love their winter clothes!
    #CountryKids

  22. Ahhh thankyou!! I hope some of the ideas work for you 🙂

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