Go hiking with your kids : 10 Tips for your family hiking adventure

We’re living in the times where nature is degrading by each passing day. The need of the hour is a very conservative approach, sustainable methods and considerate, educated humans wanting to make a change. No better candidates for the same than the future generation. Kids need to be inculcated with the thought system wherein preserving the nature is crucial.

What better way to do that than taking your kids right in the lap of nature, make them fall in love with it and instill in them a strong veneration for the same. Yes they will be taught environmental sciences and other stuff at school but that ain’t no match for sure. So plan a hiking adventure with your kids. Introduce them to the grandeur of nature, its importance and the consequences of its degradation.

We’ve come up with a list of 10 valuable Tips for making your family adventure worthwhile :

  1. Keep it short and simple – No one wants to have an excruciating experience on their first trek. So choose a beginner worthy trail with many scenic points, vantage spots and a considerable length of walk. Small ponds, lakes, waterfalls, trails through the woods etc are things your kids shall be enthralled by. They should be focused more on the journey than the destination itself.
  2. Plan a long qualitative trip – Your kids are a bubble of curiosity. They want to touch, and smell and feel everything. Make sure they don’t go on touching and feeling everything! Although let them experience the wilderness to the fullest. Let them absorb it in abundance, educate them about things and their application in our lives, other animals and our surroundings too. Give them loads to ponder upon.
  3. Prepare for anything and everything – If possible, you should involve your kids during the planning and packing stages of the trip. Although if they aren’t make sure to pack adequately. Pack light but make sure to not miss out. Medicines depending on the kind of place you’re heading to. Additional kid-friendly supplies are: wet wipes or tissues; lip balm; binoculars; magnifying glass; field guides (to point things out to kids); camera; and safety whistles for each child (and teach them what they are for and when to use them).
  4. Dress Up Well – Dressing up well here implies dressing up for the weather and not the eye. Ensure that your kids are dressed to beat the chill and wet. Carry water proof jackets, they not only protect from the wet but also wind. Covering the head, feet and hands with adequate thermals is a must. Especially the head! A pair of UV protected glasses helps a lot and in case of a snow trek, it’s life saving.
  5. Take enough pit stops – Do not walk for very long stretches. Re-energize your kids with regular, short lasting breaks. It keeps them going. Feed them with enough carbs and fluids on the way. You can set targets, for ex “we’ll take a break at that ridge.” Make sure you carry an assortment of snacks in case your kids become picky.
  6. Encouragement goes a long way – While walking, keep in mind to constantly give your kids a pat on the back. Some would be of the ideology that a kick on the ass is better than a pat on the back but not for the first adventure of your kid. The hiking bit is anyways a challenge for him. So words of encouragement like you’re walking surprisingly fast, or you’re good at it etc might give him a boost and make it easier for him.
  7. Let your kids lead – You don’t have to lead the hike throughout. Give your young ones a chance as well. It instills a stronger sense of confidence, independence and responsibility among them. So let them lead and empower them.
  8. Leave No Trace – That is and should always be the hiking model everyone should follow. Educate them about the repercussions of leaving back trash on the camping sites or trails. Hand over your kids, trash waist packs or zip bags to gather waste on the trip. Not only your own but also any trash item you see on the way. It is The Best way to educate your kids and segregate them from the otherwise uneducated herd of litterers.
  9. Don’t make it dull – Create or manipulate games that you can play out on the trail with your children. Have them look for signs of wildlife (scat, bird holes in trees, fur) or count wildflower species. Organize a scavenger hunt and have them find things are bumpy, smelly, small, big, living, wet…the list goes on! Don’t just let the trek be all about walking, there is a whole lot of things you can add to make it a fun experience.
  10. Hike More Often  – Make it a habit to hike more often. It is the best break you can get from your otherwise hectic life in cities. Give yourself and your kids a chance to inhale fresh mountain air, unblock their senses with the most surreal and soothing experiences and make them stronger and more independent.
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Joy Mandhotra

A renegade engineer. Breaking social constructs, exploring places, riding new adventures and discovering myself amidst it all.