Tips For Hiking With Your Toddler
Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities that I truly enjoy and can’t wait until the next time we go. The great thing about hiking is that there is no rush, you can go at your own pace and you discover so many beautiful places. I know it may sound crazy to some people when I tell them that I love hiking with my three kids… I believe many immediately envision chaos and children complaining they are tired. But I have put a lot of time and effort into turning hiking into something the whole family enjoys. There are lessons we have learned, mistakes I have made and a million reasons why I never gave up. My two year old could hike for hours without a single complaint and I am here today to share with some of my best advice on how to successfully hike with a toddler!
Tip #1: Find A Quality Baby Carrier
I have been baby wearing this sweet girl since I brought her home from the hospital. It didn’t take long to transition her from a wrap to a carrier so we could enjoy family walks without a crying baby. If you want to experience some beautiful trails, then you are going to have to accept that the stroller must stay home and it is time to invest in a good carrier. Don’t settle for a cheap one, your back will very much appreciate that you went for a quality carrier. There are many options out there and I suggest you do some research to decide which one is best for you and your child.
If you are interested in learning more about the carrier you see us using in the pictures, make sure to check out my post about baby wearing. I have been using this carrier for two years, it has been on many hikes and adventures and I could go on and on about how amazing this baby carrier has been! Defiantly one that comes highly recommended from this experienced baby wearing momma.
Tip #2: Let Your Toddler Explore!
Pop that kiddo out of the carrier in safe places where they can explore. Give them the freedom to get their hands and feet in the earth and discover the reason you are hiking. Tell them everything about what surrounds you, ask them to point certain objects out, identify animal noises or sounds coming from the area. Giving your child a reason to want to hike again and filling them with the excitement of learning and discovering will make the next trip even more enjoyable for them.
Tip #3: Don’t Forget The Snacks!
Anyone with a toddler is rolling their eyes right now because this is pretty much a given! Toddlers require snacks every time your foot steps out the door. You are going to want to find a trail friendly snack that you can easily feed to my toddler while wearing them. I have found that the Gerber® Lil’ Beanies are absolutely perfect to bring with us while hiking. They are the perfect size for little hands and they don’t make a big mess!
Just look at how excited my girl was when she spotted them at our local Publix! You can find my daughter’s favorite snack at your local Publix and they come in two floavros: Gerber® Lil’ Beanies Original and Gerber® Lil’ Beanies White Cheddar & Broccoli!
Did you know that these are the first bean-based snack in the baby aisle? Gerber® Lil’ Beanies are made from the goodness of navy beans, deliver 2 grams of protein (9% Daily Value), 1 gram of fiber, and 10% Daily Value of Vitamin E per serving. Gerber® Lil’ BeaniesTM Snack is baked, not made with genetically engineered (GM) ingredients, and is naturally flavored!
Tip #4: Start Small & push a little farther each time
Don’t make your first trip a 30 mile hiking trip in unfamiliar grounds. Start off first by trying to find a local park that has a short hiking trail and see how your toddler does. Each time that you go on a new hike, push them a little further by making it a longer trail. Eventually they will be going on all day hiking trips and loving it! My daughter even naps on my back if we go on hikes that take place during her usual nap time.
Tip #5: Be positive about the experience
Even if your toddler was miserable and cried the whole time, don’t be upset with them! There are so many things that can throw a toddler off and make them cranky (nap was too short, teething, hungry, etc.) so that may be what caused them to be uninterested in the trip. Try to point out all of the positives from the trip, let them know how awesome they were and reflect on the trip with pictures. This may just get them excited for the next trip when you try again.
We hope that this has inspired you to get out there and start hiking with your toddler! I know being a parent to a toddler can sometimes feel isolating, this is a difficult age filled with new surprises whenever you bring them out. Hiking can be an amazing experience and something that both you and your toddler can grow to love very much. Let us know in the comment below some of your best tips from bringing a toddler on a hike!