Top 10 tips for alpine hiking with kids
In these days of computers, iphones, social networking and sedentary distractions, it can be hard to enthuse the younger members on your family holiday to go out hiking.
Here are FamilySkiNews.com’s Top 10 Tips for happy walkers:
1 Don’t put them off by going too far – plan your walks to suit the kids’ interests, abilities and energy levels. If possible, give your walk a theme and get them to look for items/views/buildings/animals/flowers etc… related to that theme.
2 Get the right kit – ensure your children have light-weight, broken-in walking boots, with treaded sole and ankle support. You can pick up a pair at a reasonable price at such outdoors stores as Millets and Trespass.
3 Go dressed for all weathers – it’s so unpredictable and so rapidly changeable in the mountains so go prepared for every eventuality: take layers (lightweight fleeces are ideal), waterproofs, sun block and sunhat, plus hat and gloves if the weather’s cold).
4 Take some light-weight snacks for energy (biscuits, fruit and energy bars) to spur on little ones, and plenty of water to drink.
5 Carry a small first-aid kit (antiseptic wipes, plasters, etc) in case of accident, and a small bag of sweets for motivation – they could come in handy!
6 Get a map and generate interest in your hike by picking out points of interest you will see en route. Once underway, involve your children by showing them the route, or let them carry the map and lead the way.
7 Take a pair of binoculars, for spotting birds and other wildlife. You may wish to take (or give them to carry) small books to identify birds, flowers, trees, etc.
8 Get your kids involved by providing each of them with a small daypack to carry. Include just a few lightweight items – snacks, ball/Frisbee, even a favourite teddy bear.
9 Buy them a pedometer. Children love having the latest gadgets PLUS they can see how far they’ve gone on the work. Get them to guess how many steps the hike will take, or measure distances from one landmark to the next. You could even offer them a small reward if they achieve a certain numbers of steps! Older kids may enjoy converting their steps into kilometres too.
10 Remember to give plenty of praise and encouragement. A sense of achievement will spur them on to hike again… Once they have a distance to beat, you might even be able to encourage them to walk a little further next time!