Child, Family, Family Vacation, Parenting, Spare Time

Hiking with children

Hiking with children

Tips for hiking with children

Radiant sun, a fantastic landscape panorama – the day could be perfect. If it weren’t for the little moaners who keep asking: “When are we finally there?”. But hiking with children can also be a lot of fun. A few tips and tricks will help motivate the little ones to run. Start with a walk in the forest before you go on long hikes.

Head for an exciting destination

Children want to experience something along the way. They don’t yet understand that the path should be the goal. Nor do children already have an eye for the beauty of nature. Therefore, in principle, the only effective way to get a child interested in hiking is to head for an exciting destination: a lake, a barbecue area, a ruin or a playground. What attracts us adults, such as a stop in a nice restaurant, is usually of no interest to children. A crackling campfire, on the other hand, in which they can toast stick bread, can be very tempting.

It’s best to provide variety while you’re on the go, for example by declaring the path to a treasure hunt and small tasks to be solved. The experience factor must be clearly in the foreground. Dry, instructive lectures about nature stimulate the imagination less than nature adventure games or a children’s song that helps to remember the experiences and observations in nature. A great motivation for children is hiking in a slightly larger group, instead of only three or four of them walking off. If there are several children with you, the discovery tour is twice as much fun. If the children can race together in front, the adults now and again have the opportunity to chat for a few minutes among themselves.


If in doubt, choose shorter routes

It is just as important as the action on the way to make sure that the route is not too far and that small breaks are always planned. Of course, children are different, but there is a very good rule of thumb from the German Hiking Association that says: age times 1.5 – on the level. In concrete terms, this means that the distance, for example with a six-year-old child, should not exceed nine kilometers. If you go uphill, 100 meters in altitude count as one kilometer. Incidentally, the multiplication factor of 1.5 has also proven itself for times that are shown on hiking signs. For small children, you can also multiply the time by the number 2. If you calculate breaks and games into a pure walking time of three to four hours, you can easily walk six to seven hours.

When in doubt, it is always better to choose a slightly shorter route and already have a plan B in mind in case you have to break off the hike – for whatever reason. It is ideal if there is the option to head for a bus stop or a regional train station on the way. And a very important tip: A reasonably reliable cell phone network on the hiking route can be worth its weight in gold in an emergency! Despite the route, children are allowed to carry a small part of their luggage themselves. They feel that they are taken more seriously and have the feeling that they are also trusted. For example, you can pack a few provisions in a small children’s hiking backpack or give them binoculars (in the mountains) or a large magnifying glass (in the forest) to carry.

Safety comes first

Last but not least, the issue of safety: in general, the hiking group should always stay together and the slowest walks in front. If the children are not yet hiking pros, it is better to avoid balancing acts over slippery river stones and crossing steep walls. And if such tours are planned, you can put a climbing harness on smaller children and secure them to a rope on your own trouser belt. Of course, the risk of accidents also lurks when hiking on the edge of busy roads. It is best to only stay on hiking trails, but sometimes such passages cannot always be avoided completely. In these cases, it is best to walk on the left side of the road so as not to be surprised by cars from behind or to be able to see oncoming drivers in good time. You can also go straight to this situation Use traffic education.


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