As the weekend approaches and I ready our gear for an overnight hike, my thoughts are with the excited girls who went off to school this morning longing for the time we pick them up and head off into the wilderness.
It started young with our girls. Few hours spent outdoors exploring built into day hikes and now their bags packed for the 2 days that we hit the trail.
To lead by example, to live our values and develop these attributes within our children build resilience, it builds spirit.
We each have a set of values that determines the choices we make. When we act in accordance with our values and beliefs system, we are happy content and open to a world of possibilities. As a parent, it’s our responsibility to build humans that soon enough venture off into the world as young adults.
It’s critical that we develop and serve as role models so that they have the skill set to be strong, kind and courageous individuals. Their future depends on this.
For Shannon and I; we take great responsibility in demonstrating how to be truthful, courageous, creative, persistent and caring. This often involves pushing, driving, inspiring and empowering our girls to be the best versions of themselves.
Our way of achieving this is through our actions. We live our values and to share our passion and experiences on the trails with our children is important to us.
To these young girls, it’s an adventure. It’s exciting and new. This is how we deliver these crucial lessons and hopefully build strong and capable, caring and kind humans, with a big serving of fun!
Shannon and I raise our girls with a sense of adventure, to appreciate the outdoors and to build resilience, mental toughness through challenging our bodies and minds. Learning to accept the elements and sit (or hike in this case) with it. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. This reflects across into other areas of their lives, building resilience and fortitude.
It does require some forethought, some planning and plenty of snacks to encourage them at times on the demanding trail, but they are the better for it.
Have you explored with your children? Whether it’s a bushwalk or overnight hiking, there are some simple solutions to ensure a good time is had by all. Who knows they may even enjoy it!
Who doesn’t love a good trail snack? Kids are more motivated to reach that next checkpoint or lookout location if they are motivated or rewarded with food. Hiking is a high energy activity so they will want some goo fats- nuts are best. Okay, chocolate too!! Try jerky, muesli bar and banana are great options.
MAKE IT FUN
Have the kids play spotto – or the whole family too. Ask them what they can hear and have them listen to the different sounds of wild animals. How many different animals can they see or hear? Create or download a scavenger hunt and have them tick off the list as they find them. Games will keep their mind busy and inject some extra nature fun.
Make sure you get adequate rests stops. They only have little legs and depending on how far and fast you are walking, their little legs may be struggling to keep up with yours. With enough rests you will be surprised by the kilometres they can cover in a day.
MAKE IT COMFORTABLE
When hiking, regardless of weather, make sure you layer your clothing. Whilst you are walking you will want to shed the layers but as soon as you stop the chills set in. Making sure everyone is comfortable will make the adventure more enjoyable. If the kids are carrying a pack, make sure it is fitted well as to avoid backache. Shoes are important too. A comfortable pair of runners will do the job.
When the children have the option where to explore, it creates more of an incentive to get outdoors. Do they love the beach? The tall trees of a forest or waterfalls? There are many places to explore that offer a plethora of wildlife and natural beauty. To drink from a waterfall, skip stones across the water and to discover what is around the next bend, is exciting for kids of all ages.
The natural environment creates a wonderful playground for all ages. A simple way to anchor both children and adults alike in Mindfulness practice, try the following when you are outdoors exploring;
5 things you can see
4 things you can touch or feel
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste.
By grounding our senses in the natural environment, we are connected to the healing power of nature.
If you're new to hiking and keen to explore, Holistic hikes run monthly kids hikes that create a fun, interactive, nature adventure.
Next hike – holistic hikes.com/calendar for details.
Where will you be exploring this weekend?