Jeff Alt inspires and entertains audiences with his highly
acclaimed “Life Lessons from the Trail.”
Let them lead! I call this “Child Directed Hiking.” Walk at your child’s pace and distance. Whatever your child takes interest in, stop and explore that bug, leaf or rock with them. Tell them interesting facts about the animals, rocks, trees, and flowers. Getting to the destination is less important than making sure your kids have so much fun; they will want to go again and again. So, if stopping for an hour to play in a creek after only walking a few hundred yards makes your child happy, then you had a successful adventure that will lead to many more! At first, you may stop every few feet to explore a rock, a bug, or to splash in every puddle or creek you encounter. As your child continues to develop her endurance, she will naturally hike further, and eventually, she will be giving you a run for your money up to the summit. For now, don’t push it. Keep it fun. Your new mantra: The goal is not reaching the summit, view or waterfall, but for your little one to have such a fun time, they want to hike again and again. You can find lots more tried and proven tips on hiking with kids for all ages in my book, Get Your Kids Hiking: How to Start Them Young and Keep it Fun!