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I recently wrote on a post of preparing for a hike with your family. You’ll want to be prepared if you’re going to be out of the house for a long time. Usually you are away from stores or other convinces so you need pack everything you’ll need. We live 2 hours from the mountains in North Carolina, so we go often. We also live 30 minutes away from a state park so I take the kids there to during the week when my husband is working. This week, I took my boys and the neighbors while my daughter was in camp. It was a beautiful day, only around 75 when we left, and I couldn’t pass that up to be outside.
If you plan on hiking with kids, make sure you are prepared in other ways too. Not just thing to bring, but expectations for the day. Here’s a few that can help.
Don’t over do it– Make sure you do your research and don’t just stop off at any hiking spot. I have a NC hiking book that I love. I also research online. You’ll want to find an easy hike to start. There are some trails that are paved and those are great for smaller kids. If there are a lot of rocks and roots, it’s more likely that your kids will fall, get hurt, and start complaining. It’s important that you look for a trail that’s for beginners. If your kids are unhappy, you’ll be grumpy too.
Hike with a purpose– This is my #1 tip! I try and have a great ending to a hike, a waterfall or place to swim. If the kids have something to look forward to, it makes the hike more fun and exciting to know they get to swim at the end.
Be realistic– Don’t push it. You know your kids. Don’t try a 3 mile loop, if you can’t even get your kids to walk around the block or they complain after a few minutes of bike riding. You’ll be miserable and so will they. You’ll never get them to hike again.
Teach them as you go– One of the boys were so nervous as we hiked. He thought we were lost. I used this as an opportunity to teach. I told him as long as he stayed on the trail then he’s not lost. I also showed him the signs to look for that we were headed in the right direction.
Of course, at the end of of our hike, we have lunch! I think they love this part as much as the hike. I grabbed stuff at Walmart when I went grocery shopping. They love these Smuckers Uncrustables and Jif To Go Dippers. If the kids are hungry then you won’t have fun. Make sure you come with lots of snacks and a big lunch.
Do you take your family hiking? What is your advice when you go with the kids?