7 reasons to take your kids hiking: teach your kids to love nature.
The modern society is obsessed with new technologies, and they have thus become a part of every home. Adults are often forced by various life circumstances to use smart phones, tablets, laptops either for work or communication at times when real contact is not possible. Children are growing up in such world and seeing their parents use these devices on a daily basis, have started to think that it is normal that they should also learn and use them often.
As a result, children spend most of their free time indoors playing games on the smart phones or tablets, instead of going outside and experiencing the real world around them. And while I agree that kids might be the safest at their homes, I cannot regret the fact that their childhood is deprived of all the joys they could experience only when outdoors.
For this reason, I recommend that both parents and children set aside their mini technological wonders and explore the wonders of the nature around them instead. There are numerous ways to do that and hiking is one of them. The benefits of hiking are well known, but when you take your kids with you, I guarantee an explosion of good vibrations and an array of positive memories that will create a special bond between you.
If you are still not sure, I have comprised a list of seven reasons to take your kids hiking that is sure to win you over!
As hiking is a moderate aerobic exercise, it can help your kids become and stay healthy and fit. The obesity has become a serious problem for young children due to the scarce physical activity, poor and unhealthy diet, and modern life style. If you depend only on diets to resolve this problem, your kid might lose weight but gain it back rapidly too.
Hiking can help control the child’s weight in a fun and rewarding way, without making him feel punished or deprived of anything. Children will have fun, and burn the calories from too many sweets at the same time. Hiking can also increase muscle strength, and prepare your kid for various sports activities.
Some serious conditions such as type two diabetes, or high blood pressure and heart conditions can be prevented too if you teach the kids to be active at an early age- and hiking is a great beginning to this important life lesson.
Hiking exercises not only the body but also the mind. The fresh air and time spent actively will make them sleep like babies at night and thus better their sleep quality. The tension and anxiety will disappear, and you will notice fewer mood changes and negative outbursts.
Numerous studies show that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress, and even if your child is not stressed much, you probably are- and your negative emotions transfer onto your child. Happy parents have happy children- it is as simple as that. And what can make a parent happier than spending quality time with the kids on a joint adventure?
Walking gets the creative juices flowing too. Children who spend a lot of time outdoor and active tend to have better results at school too. Unless they skip their homework, of course.
Experiencing the nature
Kids and nature are an ideal combination for fun and quality spent time. Most recent studies confirmed what we already assumed- it is important to introduce children to the natural world in the early years. Humans are meant to be a part of nature and are thus hardwired to it.
Hiking is a great way to initiate the contact with nature, the flora and fauna, landscape and the living creatures that your children would otherwise see only in books- or online. For safety reasons though, make sure that you are equipped with everything you need to protect the kids if the wild beauties become too wild and dangerous. For example, the dad can carry a boot-knife safely hidden from the children, but at hand- just in case!
Inspiring kids to explore the world
Children learn best through experience, and during hiking, there is plenty of time to explain everything they see and are curious about. What could spark up their imagination better than being eye to eye with a real wild animal (not too wild though!) or coming across a deserted log cabin?
Take your time- hiking with children should not be a race but rather a journey into the unknown. They are sure to be interested in many things along the way- so be patient and allow them to pursue their interests and explore the trail in their own manner and pace.
In the long run, these childhood adventures can inspire them to explore the rest of the world and become a real outdoor enthusiast.
Teaching kids endurance
Hiking is fun, but also requires a lot of effort and strength. Children are sure to complain along the way, but you should cheer them on and not allow them to quit. They must realize that sometimes they have to keep going even if they believe they cannot, or they do not want to.
Of course, respect their natural limitations and do not make them do anything they are not capable for, but do not let them give up easily either. If they learn to endure through difficulties, they will be better prepared for adult life.
Remember to praise their effort- however minimal it might be, and celebrate their success when you reach your final destination.
Creating beautiful memories
Choose a beautiful hiking trail and beautiful moments are bound to happen. Bring a camera and record everything or make photos of your children picking the flowers, collecting pebbles, crossing a creek… When kids grow up, they will appreciate the memories, and you will too.
Time goes by quickly, and in the end, knowing that you dedicated your time to hiking with your kids instead of being online will make both you and them happy. Create as many pleasant memories- they are the best legacy you can leave to your kids.
Getting to know each other better
It might sound banal, as you surely already know almost everything there is about your kids and the other way around, but it might surprise you how infinite the child’s mind can be. Hiking is a great opportunity to really talk and listen to your kids. You will be surrounded by silence and beautiful sights that would inspire anyone to open-up.
Are you now fully convinced that hiking is a great activity for your kids? I bet that after reading my list of seven reasons to take your kids hiking, you have already started packing! I am also sure you will not regret it.
But remember: Make sure that weather conditions are appropriate, bring enough water and some light snacks, always stay safe- and you are set to go!
Melanie Campbell is an outdoor and camping enthusiast behind Ardent Footsteps, enjoying this wonderful world since 2010. She shares expert advice when it comes to camping and outdoor trekking. With main focus on making the most out of camping and outdoor adventures, Melanie will make you want go out today!