Tips for Getting Children into Hiking

dr-allen-cherer-childrenBy now, it is no secret that children are becoming increasingly disinterested with outdoor play. This is upsetting, given the countless and timeless memories and lessons, one can take away from being in nature — especially at a young age.

Despite this phenomenon, however, hiking could stand as a great way to get your children into the outdoors; it is simple yet entertaining, and under the right circumstances, it can help set a healthy precedent for years to come.


Here are several potential ways to get your children into hiking.


Evaluate your child

As a parent, you probably know your child better than anyone. That said, take additional time to assess their interests and overall character within a hiking context. Is a hike something that they might possibly enjoy? If not, would going on a hike be unpleasant or otherwise unfavorable for them? Do they have outdoor-related allergies or similar issues that should noted in advance? These matters, no matter how minuscule, should be taken into consideration if you hope to set hiking in a positive light. Otherwise, you may quickly alienate your child and associate the experience with feelings of pressure and forced interaction.


Keep it simple

It might be a no-brainer, but be sure to ease your child into hiking by starting with simple trails and terrain. Much like the previous section, if you start off by hitting a top tier trail, you will run the risk of forging a negative association with hiking in general. Search your area for flat, generally linear trails, and carve out a portion of this area that you deem sufficient for your child.


Let them choose

If you run into issues with the former suggestion, simply let your child do the picking; they may find one trail more interesting than others, and this alone could spur their enthusiasm when your adventure is in motion.

Extend this approach to the hike itself; make it an adventure of your child’s choosing, supporting and playing along with imaginary storylines supplementing the experience. Just be sure to keep your journey grounded in reality — point out animals, plant life, and scenic features anywhere possible to make the experience educational and memorable.