Hiking with Kids- Tips 6-10
Hiking with Kids- Tips 6-10
<–Click here to read Hiking with Kids- Tips 1-5, if you haven’t already.
6.) As a kid becomes more familiar with hiking, share the weight.
Kids like to help adults, let your child start helping out with carrying gear, when they are ready. That’s a tough decision- how do you know when your child is ready to start carrying a pack? For starters, the child shouldn’t have any weight the first couple of trips. If they’re young enough (younger than 9), you should be carrying all of their gear, with the exception of their water bottle. As the child grows older (and is more experienced with hiking), you’ll know the right time to start adding weight to their pack- they’ll ask for it. Kids love to help out, and as they grow older they’ll want to be increasingly more independent. They’ll thank you for the added responsibility, and your back will be thankful as well!
7.) Make sure there’s a point to the hike.
Kids like to keep things straightforward- tell them on the way to the trailhead where you plan on going, and what’s there. Make sure there’s a lake at the end of the trail, a waterfall, or a river. Kids love water, and the hike is easier if the kids know there’s something to look forward to. Although you might enjoy a 10 mile hike that leads to a dead end, most kids don’t.
8.) Bring enough first aid supplies to care for a small army.
Kids trip when hiking, get blisters, jump off of rocks, are scratched by branches and thorns, and sprain ankles. Plan for all of this by packing plenty of bandages, moleskin, and anti-inflammatory pain killers (Children’s Tylenol and Asprin).
9.) Build a Fire.
There’s something primeval about a campfire. Prehistoric man scared predators away using it, talked by it, used it for heat, and cooked food using it. There’s a natural connection that we make with those we share it with, and a fascination that kids have in making it. Involve your kids in collecting tinder, educate them on how to cut wood, and let them watch you start the fire. Even if you’re on a day hike, use the fire to boil some water for tea or hot chocolate- it teaches kids the responsible use of fire, and a practical skill. While we’re on the topic of eduction, that’s the last and second most important tip.
10.) Make the hike about learning.
As a parent, part of your job is to teach your children. There’s no better way to do that than on the trail- you’re surrounded by educational lessons in wildlife, geology, and astronomy. Teach your kids how to find the north star, how to navigate using a map, how to fish, how to climb, how to identify animal tracks, or why conservation is important. There’s no better classroom than the mountains. Take your kids outside, and build new memories!