Nothing’s worse than heading out on a family hike only to hear nonstop whining from the fun-sized crew you’re toting along. Here are some ideas on making it fun + find more tips I shared in the current issue of Bravery Magazine featuring Junko Tabei…
Hike with friends
It’s so much more fun! Honestly, this is probably the easiest way to make the experience better. I’m always surprised by how much more fun hiking is when there are other kids with us.
Have the hiker with the worst attitude be the leader.
Generally, this is the kid in the 4–6 age range who is too big to be carried in a backpack and physically strong enough to hike, but emotionally all over the place. If you have a hiker who is dragging their feet, give them the responsibility of leading the group! The leader can be in charge of choosing snacks and handing them out to the other hikers. The leader can be in charge of the clock, keeping a lookout for animals and noticing other interesting things on the trail. If there are trail maps and navigation responsibilities, this is also a job for the leader! Sometimes just a teeny bit of perceived authority will transform the worst attitude into the best!
Keep them talking
Ask kids questions requiring long-winded answers, like, “What kind of video game would you design?” Or, “If you could live in any kind of home, what would it be like?” Or, especially if they’re hungry, “What kind of cake would you make right now?” It’s amazing how detailed their little minds are.
Be okay with not getting there
The reality is that some hikes just may be too much for kids physically or emotionally. Keep your expectations low and be okay with not getting to the destination. Don’t let it ruin your day! Help your hikers feel good about what they did accomplish.
Find more tips in the current issue of Bravery magazine, a gorgeous quarterly magazine for kids featuring strong female role models. One of the co-founders, Ashley, worked with us here at Say Yes for years! Super proud of her.
Photography by Kirsten Noelle for Bravery Magazine.