Hiking trips don't have to end just because you have kids. Family hiking trips can be just as fun, if not more. The key to hiking trips with kids is to plan it well in advance.
When planning a family hiking trip, consider the different types of weather you may encounter. Although, it may be nice and sunny when you get to your destination, it can change drastically. Pack clothes that you can wear in layers, so you can add or remove clothes as necessary. Be sure to pack hats for you and the children, as the sun can damage the eyes and burn the scalp.
A family hiking trip can be wonderful, or painful, depending upon your footwear. Make sure your children's shoes fit comfortably and don't pinch the feet. Take your children on short hiking trips before you head out on the big one. You will learn, ahead of time, if your kids' shoes pinch them, or cause blisters. You don't want to have to carry a kid back from the hiking trip.
Pack plenty of high-protein snacks for the family hiking trip. Have your kids carry small backpacks filled with their own snacks and a bottle of water. Make sure they are snacks your child will eat, as hungry children will become cranky quickly.
Carry a large supply of water when you are on a family hiking trip. Children dehydrate easily, so they will need to drink a large amount of water. Children can carry their own water bottle in a back pack, or wear a hydration pack.
Start your family hiking trip early in the morning. Try to either set up camp, or be back at your car, by dark. Hiking at night can be dangerous because you risk going off trail. Predatory animals also stalk their prey when night falls.
When hiking with children, take your time and allow them to explore. Children lack the discipline to hike at a strenuous pace. Keep in mind that children have shorter legs and have to move at twice the pace of adults to keep up. They also lack the attention span and just want to play. Take time to allow them to pick flowers, chase lizards and look at birds.
Educate your children on the dangers they face on a hiking trip. Teach them to identify poison oak and ivy, spiders, and snakes. Inform kids of the dangers of walking near cliffs. Children can be advocates for their own safety if they know what to look for. A fun family hiking trip is one where everyone returns home safely.