One of the best things you can do as a family is hike wherever you go. It’s not only a great way to get fresh air, exercise and see the scenery, but it’s a wonderful way to teach your children some important things about life in general.
Before heading out for a family hike, the first thing you have to do is think about being prepared. Sitting down with your child and going over a list of clothing you might need (sturdy hiking shoes, rain ponchos, warm layers) as well as hiking essentials (first-aid kit, a flashlight, matches, etc.) and of course enough water and snacks, teaches him or her about preparedness.
You also need to look at trail maps. Even though you might be able to bag a peak, your very willing six-year-old may not be able to go the distance. Choosing a trail that works for you and all your family members requires analyzing the maps, looking closely at elevations and distances. Your child learns by seeing you make these wise, thoughtful choices as well as taking everyone’s abilities into consideration.
Once you head out on the trail, there inevitably are lessons along the way. For example, a hill might require more effort than your child is used to. This provides an opportunity to talk to him or her about challenges and how good you feel once you work through them (within reason, of course).
Acknowledging the satisfaction of achievement can also be part of the hiking experience. Your child learns that by going after a goal, he or she can achieve it.