Many adults know how much fun and rewarding hiking can be. As experienced hiker Jako Hall shares, it can be a little challenging for adults to convey that same sense of excitement for hiking to their kids.
But, there are many ways to get children interested in hiking. While it may seem like a chore to get children outside at times, there are many reasons why hiking is the perfect activity for the entire family.
One of the most important things to do is to start hiking with children when they are young. When children are introduced to hiking at an early age, they are likely to enjoy it as they grow older. That’s because trekking through trails and exploring the wilderness will be something they will always remember.
The word “hike” can often hold negative connotations for children. Some may not even completely understand what the word means. As many parents know, when children don’t understand something, they may be hesitant about trying it.
Jako Hall says that parents can flip this script by calling hiking something else. Children love to explore, so calling it an exploration, an adventure, or even a nature walk is something they’ll most likely understand and be receptive to.
Before taking any hike, it’s important that people research the trail they’re going to take. This is especially important when hiking with children.
Is the trail easy enough for children to complete? Will there be interesting landmarks, stop-offs, or views from the trail?
Parents should also make sure to be well-prepared when going on any hike with their children. They need to have proper footwear and clothing, so they’re comfortable. They need to have plenty of water, snacks, and some planned stops to rest and just enjoy the surroundings.
One of the most important tips Jako Hall offers to parents wanting to get their children interested in hiking is to be flexible. Parents who are too rigid and “need” to get something accomplished could be very disappointed when they set foot on the trail.
If the kids simply aren’t up to as much as the parent is on a particular day, it could be rather disappointing and frustrating to the parent, which is likely to be passed onto the children, who are not going to make it an enjoyable experience.
Negative experiences like that will often lead to children hating hiking rather than enjoying it. So, Jako Hall suggests hoping for the best but planning for a little less than that.
Ultimately, just getting out on a trail with children is an accomplishment and something worth enjoying. Simply soak in nature with a smile, and children will often follow suit.
About Jako Hall
Captain Jako Hall is an experienced mariner and a former naval officer known for his strong work ethic and ability to lead and motivate crews. He pursued Maritime Studies at the University of Technology in Cape Town and has received the highest level of training in Navigation and Seamanship during his years in the Navy. After 13 distinguished years in the Navy, Jako joined the superyacht industry, following his passion for creating unique and exclusive experiences for high-net-worth clients. He’s managed multi-million euro projects that required attention to detail and efficiency and has a proven track record of operating at sea in remote and unsupported areas.