Hiking with Kids: A Beginner’s Guide

Hiking with my kids has changed my life. I mean it. We’ve not only created lifelong memories, but it’s so much more than that. It’s helped us slow down and quite literally stop and smell…well, everything. You see, I’ve always hiked with my kids, but since the pandemic, we’ve really amped up our game. Hiking is not always perfect with my kids. Sometimes my kids fight and sometimes they whine because they’re so exhausted. But it’s always worth it. So, I hope this beginner’s guide helps you ignite this soul-filling habit with your own family.hiking

What Hiking Has Done for Me

As a mom and woman, hiking with my kids has given me so many benefits. First and foremost, getting out in nature has helped my mental health. Not only does the fresh air freshen my mind, but nature is healing. There’s no way around it. I can’t really describe how I feel during and after a hike; it’s like my soul is flying. I’m much more at peace in my heart while the turmoil continues to swirl in the world around us.  

Hiking with my kids has also given me confidence as a mother. Science is not my forte and I’ve been known for getting lost—anywhere. So, finding our way out of the woods after a long hike has given me confidence to take my kids just about anywhere.

What Hiking Has Done for the Kids

Hiking has given my kids confidence—to try new things, take healthy risks, and learn about something new. I’ve watched my kids climb mountains and trees as well as build their endurance for as long as a 7-mile hike. Watching them soar has been a wonderful sight to see.

They also have become much more observant of the world around them and environmentally conscious. My son will pick up trash he sees, just because—and then make a game out of how many pieces he can pick up to make the world better.

hikingHow to Get Started

  • First, you just need an adventurous spirit. Gather up your courage and tell yourself that you will conquer your first hike with your kids. You can do this! If I can, certainly anyone can.
  • Download the All Trails app or just Google trails in your area. Choose one or make a bucket list. 
  • Next, take a small backpack and fill it with some water bottles, snacks, and a couple Band-Aids. Some websites will tell you to bring all kinds of gear with you, but honestly, you just need sneakers. We’ve never bought hiking boots and we’ve been just fine. Simply dress for the weather. If you’re traveling to a destination where the trees don’t protect you, you’ll also need some sunscreen, but that’s it. I’m a minimalist when it comes to hiking because the more you bring, the more you have to carry.

Be Mentally Prepared

  • Getting acquainted with hiking can take some time depending on your kids. Their stamina may be low so expect whining. If this occurs, just try to have a light heart and persevere. But if your first hike is short, don’t let that stop you. Try again. Slowly their endurance will grow.
  • Maybe you have a wild child. You also need to be prepared for this because they may want to climb a very high tree or jump into the water. Personally, I’m all about letting my kids take healthy risks, but you know your child best. If you think they’re getting into something too risky, be prepared to pull in the reigns without crushing their spirit.hiking
  • Perhaps you have a wanderer {usually a wanderer is a wild child, too} — so be prepared for them to lag behind or go ahead. Honestly, I love when this happens. This means they’re getting lost in nature, learning to observe the little things, and be content with themselves. As long as I can see my kid {which sometimes I can’t}, I’m totally fine with my little wanderer.
  • Be prepared for small boo-boos. My wild child falls each and every time we hike—no joke. She goes at one speed—and it’s FAST. She trips ver roots, falls down rolling hills, trips into the water, and more. My daughter’s legs are black and blue and her knees are constantly scabbed. It is what it is. I say she’s building grit and learning to control her body.
  • Be prepared for dirty kids and a dirty car. If my kids see water or mud, they’re exploring in it. I’ve grown to suppress my moans and let them get dirty—they only get one childhood, after all.hiking

I truly hope this post has given you the confidence you need to try hiking with your kids. Remember, anyone can do it. Explore and have fun! Adventures are waiting.

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