Hiking with the kids can be brilliant fun and one way to get all the family outside and enjoying nature.
Hiking with the kids can be brilliant fun and one way to get all the family outside and enjoying what nature has to offer us. If you have always enjoyed hiking before you started a family, there is no reason why you can’t include your kids in your hobby.
Here we offer some tips on hiking with the kids so you can have fun hiking while caring for your kiddies:
Choose the right hiking trail for your kids' ages - It depends on how old your kids are, but you should research hiking areas before setting off. The main things to consider are the length of the hiking trail, the terrain of the trail, the setting and scenery (is it interesting for kids?) and are you familiar with the area? In some cases, knowing a trail yourself helps as there are no surprises. Equally, it is vital to know how your children can cope and they should be active kids to manage hiking trails. Kids don’t want to be bored either so a hike with interesting scenery and natural spots is most enjoyable. For your first hike, play it safe and build up to longer and more physically enduring hikes as your kids become more experienced and confident. You can find lots of family-friendly hikes in Ireland online.
Invest in the right gear and check the weather regularly - Hiking boots are a must and depending on the weather you may need rain gear or sun creams and hats or even gloves. You should check your local weather online and plan for the weather accordingly. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to cancel a trip if the weather is too hot or too rainy. Safety comes first and plan for your hike but don’t continue a journey, if the weather will be challenging for you or your kiddies. If you are hiking and then camping, you will need to have sleeping bags, tents, food supplies and much, much more. The kids love to have their own things so make them feel special with their own jackets, boots and gear.
Food and drinks – It goes without saying, that going on a hike without food and drinks supplies is ridiculous but bring the right type of snacks and drinks. Have plenty of water and fruit, snacks that are healthy and bring sandwiches or rolls too. Make sure you bring foods that are low in sugar but full of energy goodness. Pick the right time of day to go too as some kids are more tired towards the end of the day, so plan to go earlier. If the weather is warm it is advised, you go before midday sun hits so plan and act accordingly.
Don’t forget safety - Bring a good first-aid kit and don’t leave anything to chance. Take plenty of rest stops, while hiking to let your kids refuel and remind your kids to speak up if they need a rest or are feeling tired or ill. Don’t take risks and teach your children how to behave well while on a trek. Vitally, they shouldn’t pick fights with their siblings or push each other around!
Make it worthwhile – Make it fun, for your kids so they enjoy hiking as much as you do. It could be a monthly excursion or less, but it means getting outdoors and building on your relationships with one another. At a time when kids are spending lots of their free time on technology, it is a good way to show them the beauty and fun in the natural world around them.
Emma Hayes is a thirty-something mum of two girls aged 16 and 10, planting her right into the teenage and tween-age years! Follow her on Twitter at @EmmaHayes25.