Hiking has always been one of my favorite outdoor activity. There’s nothing like finally being on top of the world. Literally! For a long time, I used to hike with my college buddies but we all got busy with family, and eventually, most people dropped out and then I was alone again.
Let’s be honest. You can’t always rely on your friends to show up for such things all the time. We’ve all canceled a trip or outing at least once because people couldn’t show up. That used to be my excuse for not hiking until I found out I had a squad that was always more than willing to hike with me. My kids!
Hiking with kids is a fantastic experience, and although most people think it’s taking on too much, it’s not that hard. As long as you carry essential things and even give them their mini hiking bags, you’re not adding to the stress of hiking.
Here are a few reasons why you should carry your kids along with your next hiking trip!
1. It’s a learning experience outside of school
There’s so much to learn in the great outdoors. Some hiking trails have their plants and trees labeled for help in identification. Some even go on to write a little on the plant such as its benefits and uses. It is therefore essential for you to stop once in a while for your child to get a little bit of education. Once your child sees a name they’ve encountered in school, it’s something that will stick in the memory.
There’s also a lot of wildlife to be seen out there. Some of these animals can never be spotted elsewhere apart from hiking trails and high places like mountains.
2. Kids learn to lead
Letting your kids lead during the hiking could pave the way for exceptional leadership skills in the future. Once in a while, I made my kids guide me so that they gain confidence in their ability to lead grown-ups which is a big thing to them. They’re the ones who decide what route to take when we come to a junction, and they determine how we get to where we are going.
Sometimes they turn back to look at me for approval, and there’s nothing better than giving them a nod of approval. All these skills will eventually spill over to other areas in life such as school and at home.
3. It’s a chance for the kids to relax
Believe it or not, children also have things that stress them and give them anxiety. We, adults, tend to think that we are the only ones who are genuinely stressed. A child’s stress can quickly turn into depression.
Hiking with kids is the perfect outdoor activity for anyone looking to unplug and be at one with nature and peace with themselves. Because let’s be honest, hiking is a great way to escape that stress that we bring home from work and we were looking for somewhere to channel our frustrations.
4. Hiking with your kids gives a chance for the family to bond
There’s no phone service in most places, so you’ll have to pretend like it’s the 1980s. Talk to your family. There’s something about taking a walking with someone that makes it so much easier to talk about what’s bothering you. This is the time your kids will probably open up about the kid that’s been bullying them or the teacher who is picking on them. Anything that’s on their mind.
It’s also a great way to connect with your spouse or friends because nobody is on their phone anymore and it’s just human minds now.
5. Hiking with kids presents a good opportunity to exercise
There’s no denying that the rates of teenage and childhood obesity are increasing at an alarming rate. According to publications made in 2016, about 19.6% of kids aged between 6 and 11 years are obese, and 4.3% are extremely obese and at risk of suffering from obesity-related diseases. Hiking could solve overweight issues if it’s practiced frequently with a strict diet.
Everyone should get a chance to hike, especially kids. Take them, out to see the world and be at one with nature. It doesn’t have to be a regular thing because sometimes you need to climb major mountains on your own. Never pass the chance to spend more time with them because they grow up so fast.
I’m Tom Brown the founder and editor in chief at Thrifty Outdoors Man. I love taking my kids away from their screens and spending time with them outdoors. My favorite things to do outdoors are trying out new hiking trails and exploring different camping sites.