Probably, all hikers, telling their relatives and friends the happy news about the upcoming addition to the family, hear similar expressions: “Well, now the hikes will have to be postponed for a few years…”
In fact, you can go hiking with kids quite comfortably and still have fun and enjoy the hike. Of course, you will have to slightly change the complexity and format of the hikes, but if you know all the rules of hiking with children, it will be easier to do.
0-2 years old
If your child is less than 2.5-3 years old, it is necessary to have certain facilities to transport him while hiking. Few people dare to take a child in the first months of life on a hike, but, nevertheless, they do happen. For such children, it can be a kangaroo backpack or a sling. Well, there are specially adapted backpacks for older children (1 to 3 years).
SLING OR BACKPACK
Some mothers are used to carrying their babies with the help of a sling. It is an especially great option for nursing mothers, because you can feed the baby even on the move, and the baby is closer to you and will feel very relaxed. Pediatricians do not recommend still using a kangaroo at a young age, because the child in this case assumes a sitting position, which can harm its proper development. But not everything is easy with the sling either. Slings have their own special way of use, which should be learned in advance before going on a hike.
2-4 years old
At the age of about two years, the child is already ready to go on not too long and easy hikes. Even for a two-year-old child who is used to walking a lot, we recommend taking a specially adapted backpack for transporting the child. If you decide not to take such a backpack with you anyway, it is better not to plan for crossings of hiking routes longer than one and a half or two kilometers.
For children up to 3-3.5 years old, even if your child is already used to using the toilet, be sure to take disposable diapers with you.
Starting from about 3-4 years old, the child can already go on quite long hikes. In addition, he is already adjusting well to the inconvenience of long transportation.
5-7 years old
Children of this age already feel great while hiking. During long-day hikes, they already take part in the preparation of the tent. As long as the children are passively participating in the hike, it is necessary to organize their “entertainment”, because what attracts the adult during the hikes (species of nature, songs around the fire, etc.) will not be very interesting for the child. Before the hike, it is necessary to think about what the children can be occupied with. You can entrust them with certain tasks, for example, to participate in the process of collecting wood, which will arouse his interest.
7 years and older
For school-aged children, hiking is already much more interesting. Children of this age understand much better the importance of following the rules of behavior during the trips. Adolescents over 13-14 years of age can participate in hikes of any complexity almost equally with adults.
Gain altitude gradually
Children, like adults, can experience symptoms of mountain sickness at an altitude of more than 2500 meters. Weakness, shortness of breath, headache, nausea – these are symptoms that the body has not yet adapted to such altitude. If you don’t pay attention and continue climbing, the consequences can be very serious.
Start at low altitudes to give your child time to acclimatize.
• The route of the first hike with the child should be easy, without steep ups and downs.
• It is better if there are fresh news about the track from other travelers. So you’ll know exactly what to expect. It will be great if you have already gone that route, that way you will also feel more relaxed and safe.
• The smaller the separation from civilization, the more suitable the route is for hiking with children. If necessary, you can quickly reach the nearest village or town.
• Gradually increase the difficulty of hiking routes. Always start with easy and not too long hikes, so the child’s adaptation to the new environment will be faster and there will be no stress.
• Start hiking during the warmer months of the year. Bad weather conditions cause unnecessary stress and tension when hiking with children.
• Avoid overloading. Excessive load is not only long transitions, but also static postures. Remove the toddler from the sling every 40 minutes if he is not sleeping.
• Before going on a hike with older children, prepare in advance, discuss the details of the route with them, organize long walks in the city in advance.
The article was compiled based on observations and materials collected by ArmLand club.