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You dream of lovely hikes in nature with your child…

Some days are easier than others when you start bringing your kids to the hills.  We started out with our boy in the mountains all the time. We lived near them and it was easy.

Now we live in the flat lands and only get out occasionally. So instead of this being an everyday part of our child’s life, it is a unique experience.  Hiking to him, is much better in theory if there are no uphills involved. Since we were in the mountains, a few uphills seemed inevitable.

I figured child motivation was the issue. At six, my boy is hinged between being basically insane and wonderful, thoughtful child.  That door swings wildly and without my knowledge.

Between bouts of threats and bribery, I had long discussions (also known as talking to myself) about why I like to hike/run/pack.

  1. The great company.
  2. Spectacular views!
  3. Sense of accomplishment.
  4. Feels great to hike/run/pack
  5. Each hike is a joint history/geology/biology lesson.
  6. Turn corner – see moose. Excitement!
  7. Excellent lakes to jump in

You can only imagine how well that went over. So once my monolouge was over, I picked him up and hauled his 50+ lb. butt up the trail.

Once I was good and tired and I realized that my expectations were the real deal breaker here. My speech was fine, but really he is six.  He likes bugs. And hitting things. And eating.

What really worked.

Well, carrying did work, but there is a limit to how far I am going to trudge up a mountain with a kid on my back. Not recommended, but it gets you out.hiking with kids - letting go

Hitting things. Ah boys.  Once he had a walking stick and could occasionally club some unlucky rock or dead branch (I set some limits on this), he was much happier. Realize your urge for a philosophical moment with your young child enjoying the wilderness in all it’s tranquility is only your idea, not his.

Stories. Tell them, listen to them. My child likes stories about meeting bears (I have), moose (yup), buffalo (you bet), elk, marmots, badgers, bobcats, mice… He needs more stimulation than I do.  I want to limit my stimulation by going out, he wants to increase it.

Pick up trash. Oddly, this is motivating. Every child wants to be a hero. Downside: you carry it out. We never got more than about a pound or so though.

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2 thoughts on “Hiking with Kids – some ideas that work (sometimes)

  1. Excellent post! We do most of our “light” hiking with four children – 9, 7, 6 and a toddler in a backpack. Needless to say, motivation lessons commensurate with how far we’ve walked from the car. We try to keep it light and fun and hope that we are building habits that they will keep when they are old enough to motivate themselves. I’ll definitely use the tips. Hopefully, at least one of them will help.

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