The Truth About Hiking With Kids

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The Truth About Hiking With KidsOur family’s love language is any and all kinds of adventure together, so naturally, hiking is one of those paths to adventure. But I have got to be honest: sometimes hiking with kids sucks. There I said it. They walk really slowly. They complain about the type of snacks you brought, and when you inevitably have to carry them, they are super heavy. Our kids are three and a half and 11-months-old, so I can only speak about hiking with toddlers and babies so far. Keeping foreign objects out of the baby’s mouth is a full-time job on its own that gets even harder when we take him outside.

Even with the best gear, perfect attitudes, and beautiful weather, taking your kids along for that hiking adventure can be tough.

Do they have enough bug spray or sunscreen on? Why can’t he just leave his hat on!? And could you please hold my hand so you don’t slip and fall! There are some days where simply getting everyone in the car is a daunting task. But you know what? It’s worth it. Every. Single. Time. Because our kids need to see us when we’re uncomfortable, tired, and hangry. They need to see us when we do hard things on purpose and persevere. Our attitudes and outlook during these adventures are the most important part and an opportunity for them to learn how to manage their own uncomfortable feelings. And when things don’t go quite as planned, those are the memories that they will hold onto through not only their childhood, but their entire lives.

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Our daughter loves retelling the story of when we hiked to Mushroom Rock and saw a rat snake hanging out of a tree. Or the time we watched tadpoles swimming in a puddle out at Foster Falls and collected colorful leaves for her collection. The hikes that ended in bee stings and rain drenched clothes are stories she also retells often. And those memories are going to be some of my favorite as well. And that is what makes it all worth it.

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Being in nature has undeniable benefits for our kids but also for us as parents. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out The Complete Kid’s Guide: Hiking with Parents in Chattanooga. I’d love to hear about your experiences hiking with your kids, both positive and negative!

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