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Top 5 Tips for Hiking with Kids
Have you been searching for a fun, adventurous way to spend quality time with your family? Perhaps looking to introduce some new forms of exercise into your routine that adds a little bit of discovery and excitement, too? Hiking is a great way to do just that, but when you have kids in tow, parents need to take a few extra steps to be truly prepared for the trail ahead. In this article, our team at Bobux have compiled our top 5 tips for hiking with kids and provide you with even more information to help you plan the perfect family hike.
Tip #1: Find a Family-Friendly Hiking Trail
Taking the time to research your options and finding the right trail will go a long way to making the hike enjoyable for everyone. Look for trails that are easy to navigate and have a low difficulty level, especially when you are all just starting out on this form of exercise. It helps to also research trails that have restrooms, picnic areas, and other amenities that can accommodate the need of families. To ensure you also get some great viewing in, you should also choose a trail with a natural feature or lookout point that your kids will be excited to explore, such as a waterfall, lake, or mountain view. Lastly, before heading out, be sure to check the weather and trail conditions. If there have been periods of heavy rain, fires, or strong winds, you must ensure the trail is safe for your family, regardless of their hiking ability.
Tip #2: Manage Your Expectations
As parents, it’s easy to get carried away when thinking of our children’s abilities. Just remember that no matter how active they are, when hiking with kids, you need to adjust your expectations. Don't expect them to be able to hike as far or as fast as you do. They have smaller legs and muscles that are still developing, so take breaks as needed and allow your kids to explore their surroundings, rather than turning the adventure into a slog. Be prepared to also turn back if your kids are tired or not enjoying the hike. Remember, it's about the journey, not just the destination. If you set out with a positive attitude and a flexible mindset, your family hike will surely be a success.
Tip #3: Equip Them for The Hike
This is probably one of our more important tips for hiking with kids – before leaving the house, ensure your kids are properly equipped. They need to be dressed in comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes, but they must have a sturdy pair of kids’ shoes that not only fit, but offer the right support as they spend an extended period of time walking across harsh terrain. Every child grows at their own pace, so be sure to always select a pair of children’s shoes that fits based on their stage, not their age – review our size & fitting guide for help! A backpack with plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen is also essential, especially on longer hikes. If your child is old enough to hike on their own, consider giving them a small backpack to carry their own supplies, as it can help them feel more independent and invested in the hike. Consider bringing a first aid kit and insect repellent, too, just in case!
Tip #4: Stay Ready for Anything
When hiking with kids, parents and guardians need to be prepared for anything that might happen. Be ready for changes in weather by bringing rain gear or extra layers. Have a plan in case someone gets lost or injured, and make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. Bring a map or GPS device to help navigate the trail, and make sure your phone is fully charged in case of emergencies (if you have room, maybe bring a power bank as an extra precaution). It's also a good idea to be prepared for wildlife encounters. Depending on where you're hiking, you may see a range of beautiful creatures, but you could also encounter snakes, spiders, or other more dangerous animals. Make sure everyone knows not to disturb these animals and what to do if any adverse interactions occur on the trail.
Tip #5: Take Up a Regular Hiking Schedule
One of the best ways to make hiking with kids a success is to make it a regular part of your family routine. Start with short hikes and gradually increase the distance and difficulty level as your kids become more experienced and physically capable. Doing so will not only increase your kids’ fitness levels, but will also encourage them to appreciate nature and learn about the environment. As you go, be sure to take photos and make memories that will last a lifetime!
Speak with Our Team at Bobux for More Tips on Selecting the Right Footwear When Hiking with Your Kids
Ensure that your little ones are protected when out on the trail. Contact us at Bobux today for more information on the right footwear for your children when hiking.