To say that we were honored to host our friends at North Country Littles for an Instagram takeover over Father’s Day Weekend is definitely an understatement. They were kind enough to post some really great tips for hiking with kids, and it seemed a waste to share them only with our Instagram audience.
Here are five tips for hiking with kids, courtesy of North Country Littles…enjoy!
Being out in nature brings out the best in my kids. The next time your little ones seem to be on edge or getting heated with each other try taking them out into the yard or on a trail for a bit. I know the breaks into are a necessity for our sanity and I hope they help y’all as well!
Have races! Let’s be honest, some times my kids get bored while we are hiking. Right when the boredom whining starts up I try to change the tune quickly and inspire a race. Even if it is just to the next tree. There is something about “on your mark, get set, GO!!!!” that is just magical. It changes the pace, brings excitment and of course your kids will want a rematch of they didn’t win. So often a grumpy attitude has been changed because of these races. Next time your little one starts talking about being tired (aka bored) challenge him or her to a race and watch the excitment rush in!
I used to fall, too often, into the trap of just wanting to get to the destination of our hike. This just left me with tired, cranky, sad toddlers. The more I learned to let go and stop along the way the better our hikes became. You know what, my kids totally had the right idea! I have come to love the stops, we discover new bugs, find cool rocks, and have more time to really soak in our surroundings. Recently to add to our exploration we write down or take a picture of something we find on our hike and when we get home we research it more. We have learned a lot of really interesting things this way!
One of the biggest things you can do is to start small. If your kids haven’t gone on hikes much don’t start out with big goals. Find a short loop hike, or a hike that leads to something cool like a lake or waterfall. The longer you hike the farther your kids will be able to go. When my kids first started walking on our hikes I would be excited about making it 1/4 of a mile. Now, my 3 year old can hike 4 miles before she needs to be carried. It is all a gradual process and the best thing you can do for your kids is to start small and on their level. Also, get excited about it, I always make a point to end on a happy note!
Piggy backing off the tip to start small, my most important tip is to remember that the goal should be to help your children gain a love of the outdoors. No matter what our hike turns into I feel it is a success if my kids are having fun! If they would rather throw rocks into a stream the whole time, or splash in a puddle 100 yards from the car, so be it. We are outside and they are happy!
SPECIAL NOTE FROM SARAH (mama at @NorthCountryLittles)
I sincerely hope that these tips help give you the confidence you need to get outdoors with your little ones! If you have any questions for want further advise or encouragement feel free to contact me and follow along on our adventures at @northcountrylittles, or at www.NorthCountryLittles.com!