Have you ever had a miserable hiking experience with your kids that stresses you out so much that you think…maybe just for a second…"that’s it, I’m done!"?
Oh man have we and then some, more than once!
Once, several years back, we were out on a gorge trail…when very suddenly in a fit of protest, our kid turned around and just took off. Out of view. At a full on sprint. Did I mention he was 4 at the time and the trail was near a major road?
It’s amusing to look back at…now, that is…because it’s one of a series of not-so-great experiences that led us to creating Super Nature Adventures. But at the time it was infuriating.
After a moment of shock, my husband ran full speed to catch him before he got back to the road.
Then he carried him the rest of the way to the waterfall at the end of the trail...because, by golly, we were determined to get to where we planned to go. In last week’s blog post, I said that we’d be sharing tips and tools that can help your family get outdoors more for 2018.
Here’s our first tip:
If you are hesitant about getting out with your kid(s), pause to reflect on what stresses you out. Then, start to think about ways to adjust.
Often in our own excitement, it’s easy to forget that kids have different needs and interests than us.
That was certainly true for us in the example I just shared. Only much later did we figure out that we should have involved our kid more when we were making our plans.
Often we put our own desires first. We don't show kid the maps or explain the distance. They haven’t seen pictures of the place, and have no idea what to expect.
It's also important to remember that nature operates on a different scale and in a different way for them.
For some kids it might be a canvas for their imagination, while for others it’s a chance to get out the wiggles and run.
Does your kid drag their heels? Instead of resisting, try slowing down with them. Try to see the world from their perspective as much as you can.
For a lot of kids, they just want to feel like they have the power and control (that’s when having their own map or field guide like the ones in our packets can really help!)
This might mean some serious adjustments to your expectations. It might mean going more slowly, or only going part of the distance. But let’s be real. If you are out with your kids, you’re not really there for the exercise. Right?
As we highlighted in last week's blog post, these moments outdoors with your family are important. Besides, you might be surprised by what you learn from your kids when you explore nature from their perspective.
And if the problem with getting outdoors has more to do with you than your kids, then that’s a different kind of challenge…and a topic we’ll tackle next week. :)
Bryna R. Campbell