The Challenge within a Challenge
365 Miles with your kids – yeah, that’s definitely a challenge. I know that the thought of logging all of those miles with your children along side you can seem overwhelming at first. I’ve been there too. Funny thing is that once we started and got into the groove, it actually improved our relationship. The phones and iPads were put away and we actually started talking to each other – really talking. Instead of fighting over chores or homework, we were talking about the woods, the trails, and the wildlife. We talked about music, movies, future hikes, future dreams, friends, school, work, life – never once was one of my questions answered with “fine”. These wonderful conversations may not have ever happened if we hadn’t started adventuring together. I’m not saying that every outing was perfect, but we built memories and developed a bond that will last forever. I’m hoping the following tips will make it easier for you and your children to start your own journey.
Don’t overdo it at first. Take a short walk or bike ride around your neighborhood or someplace close to home. Let your children ease into it. Remember, they have to build up their stamina and fitness level too. If you try to do too much too soon, it’s just going to be a bad day for everyone. Take it slow to start and then gently add to the distance and duration. Easy does it.
Let Your Kids Plan
Once everyone’s used to getting outside and moving, let your kids help you plan your adventures. Let them decide on the snacks and help them find a fun place to go. There are lots of resources available online, at your State or National Parks, or even with fun apps like All Trails. Rail Trails (old railroads converted into bike paths) are popping up all over the country, and are great places to walk or ride bikes. If your kids help plan the adventure, they become excited about it. Plus, it gives you something else fun to do together.
Always bring water and snacks. Snacks provide fuel to keep those little feet moving and water is essential – even when it’s cold outside. Healthy snacks like fruit, trail mix, cheese sticks, and baby carrots are all easy to pack, easy to eat, nutritious and fun!
Bring a Friend
Kids really enjoy spending time with their friends. Offer to let them come along once in a while. They will usually be so busy laughing and exploring that they’ll forget to whine or complain. If you’re friends with the parents, invite them too. You can all get out there and have fun together!
Keep it Fun
Come up with a fun goal – find a geocache, conquer the mountain, ride to the river for a picnic. Maybe make up a scavenger hunt to keep them alert and interested along the way. Let them fill in your 365 Mile Challenge tracking sheet or create one just for them. Better yet, register them as well so that you can keep each other motivated and on track!
Take it Easy
As I mentioned above, kids need time to get in hiking or biking shape too! If you’ve been hiking a lot, but your kids haven’t, please don’t assume that they can keep up because they’re young. Those little legs need to get used to moving. Let them develop their stamina at their pace and you’ll have much more fun together!
Remember if you hit a roadblock or need some ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out! We are always here to help!