Hiking with toddlers is not always the most beautiful experience you’re going to have. It takes a little bit of effort and a strong will to have a successful hiking trip with your toddlers. There are plenty of useful tips that can help you achieve your goal and make every member of your family enjoy the wilderness experience.
Instead of being scared and paranoid, relax and follow the ultimate tips for hiking with toddlers.
Taking your toddler into the woods and expect that he’ll walk for two hours is a big nonsense. Make your baby do short, but often walks in your everyday life is what will help him build a great stamina and make him love moving around and exploring. Bring your stroller everywhere you go, but use it only if your kid asks for it. Take your child for a quick walk with the dog, or walk together to the bakery. This way he’ll develop a routine of everyday exercise.
Choose your trail wisely
Before heading to the wilderness, do some research and get to know about where you’re going. Be prepared for the terrain, make sure your toddler won’t be exhausted, and always be ready to turn around and go back to the car. In case there is a big interest from your little one to keep on going, then give it a try and walk a little longer.
Keep your kids’ interests in mind
Think about what your kids enjoy the most when you go in nature and that’s how you’ll know how to choose the right trail. Is it a huge tree so they can wrap their arms around it or maybe try to climb? Or is it a roaring waterfall of or a river. According to what your kids like the most and you’ve noticed they get excited about, choose a trail that will feature those attractions. It’s very important to make their first hikes enjoyable and create unforgettable and pleasant memories for them. That way they will always like to go back to hiking.
Ration snacks and use treats for motivation
All kids love snacks and food breaks. Make your toddlers understand when is it that you stop, relax and eat your favorite snack. Make sure you don’t spoil them and feed them everytime they become cranky. Kids must understand that there is a right time for everything and sometimes you need to set a goal to get what you want. For example, you can challenge your child to run or hike up to a certain point ( a river, a huge tree, a cactus etc.) and when it gets there give him his favorite snack.
Let them lead
Allowing your kid to take charge on a trail is a great tool that leads to successful family hikes. This doesn’t mean that you should be a hundred steps behind, but let the kid explore and gain self-confidence while you’re always behind them if they need you. Kids love to lead and to teach you things (when they’re not asking a zillion questions). So, letting them lead you on some portions of the trail can be fun for them and for you.
This one sounds contradictory to the previous tip, but you must understand that changing the rules while hiking with a toddler is the key. They enjoy leading, but that won’t last forever, so sometimes it’s good that you lead them and start running so they can chase you. Toddlers need challenges and tricks all along the way which will wake up your creativity. Good luck!
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