Sharing your passion for hiking and backpacking with your offspring can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. You may not want to take them with you each time you head into the hills—we all have days when we’d rather be responsible only for ourselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that—but you can spend a really amazing and fun day (or more days) hiking with your children in tow. Remember that you’ll be doing them a great favor in the process.
There’s a reason why our schools believe that the traditional trip to an outdoor centre is important and a valuable experience—the challenges that children face on the hill can, with the proper guidance, provide the ideal environment to develop confidence, perseverance, resilience, and the crucial interpersonal skills that aren’t tested for in any exam but are one of the most important factors to finding satisfying work and healthy relationships later in life.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to be an outdoor learning guru to give your children these chances. If you can look after yourself on the hill, you probably already have the skills and experience to keep your family safe too. You may only need some additional tips to help you and your kids have a pleasant day without (too much) whinging, foot-dragging or grumpiness from anyone. Gather as many ideas as possible about how to keep them engaged. It’s not just your children who will benefit from you taking the time to share your enthusiasm for the hills with them—you’ll also benefit a lot, and at the same time, you will have plenty time to bond with your kids at different levels. Get into the habit of enjoying trips together in the outdoors as it can be really beneficial for your relationship with each other.