In last week’s blog post, I shared some tips for navigating the challenges of hiking with kids. This week, I want to turn the attention to parents.
More specifically, I want to focus on those of us who have trouble finding time for hiking...
which is basically almost all of us!
Why do I say this? Because last year when we surveyed folks about their biggest family hiking challenges, most mentioned a lack of time as a major barrier.
Parents said they felt too busy, too stressed, or sometimes just too exhausted to figure out how to schedule in outdoor time.
What can you do to tackle this particular hurdle?
I decided to look to writer Gretchin Rubin's work on habits as I came up with some some tips:
Four Tips to Help you Get Outdoors
1. Don’t wait for the “perfect” weather or moment to start getting outdoors
For most of us, the hardest part of starting something new is starting it. We can plan for hours, days, or weeks, always telling ourselves we will start when the timing is just right. But when does that just right moment arrive? Inevitably, tomorrow or the next day after that.
Rubin calls this approach the fallacy of “tomorrow logic.” Too often we sell ourselves short when we wait for the fantasy of a “perfect” moment to start.
2. Try the strategy of scheduling.
It might sound a little ridiculous to schedule in leisure time, but with all the different kinds of distractions in our current age, it can be easy for an entire weekend to slip away. As Rubin notes, scheduling has long been proven as an effective way to confront and acknowledge the natural limits of time.
If you are having trouble fitting hikes in, try creating one or two planned weekends every month for family outings. Or, if you are at home on weekdays with your kids, try devoting one afternoon a week for "no-excuses" nature time.
You don’t have to reserve a giant chunk of time to create moments for outdoor time together as family. There are lots of ways to squeeze in nature play throughout the day, as we’ll share in a guest blog post next week.
3. Find a group or friend for camaraderie and support.
Studies show accountability to someone else can really help make a habit stick. And when it comes to family hiking, another sympathetic parent can also be a real source of support. Try one of our group hikes (like the one mentioned above), and meet other families interested in the outdoors.
Or if you have a toddler, you might consider a nonprofit organization like Hike It Baby, which is devoted to providing new parents with hiking support.
Rather create your own hiking group? Why not join our Super Nature Adventures Community group on Facebook (if you haven’t already yet) and connect with families there? Not sure how? Find the Group through our public facebook page, or email us for help and we can send you an invite!
4. Finally, try a challenge.
One of the fun features that Hike It Baby offers to its members is a quarterly challenge designed to inspire parents try to hike 30 miles in 30 days. Challenges like this can be a great source of inspiration.
But you don’t have to make mileage your goal. In fact, when you are with your little one, we suggest you forget about distance and instead consider a challenge rooted in experiences.
Do you usually only go on hikes only once in a while? This year, why not aim for 6 outings instead of 2? Or use our monthly subscription packets to help you plan and focus on doing 8, or even 10, nature scavenger hunts this year.
Bryna R. Campbell