It’s no secret that pre-kids we all think life won’t change and we’ll continue doing and enjoying all of the things that we did before, but once baby has arrived life gets turned upside down and things become unrecognisable as to how they were before.
There are certain things that you really can’t continue to do once you’ve have children; wild nights out, chilled lie-ins and so on, but sometimes we think that we really have to knock all of our hobbies on the head for the time being, and its just not true.
With a little bit of preparation and some give and take, you can still carry on with lots of the activities that you enjoyed pre-kids, and this definitely includes walking.
Here are our 10 top tips to help you continue with your hikes with little ones in tow!
1.Choose buggy friendly routes
If you plan to take a buggy with you whilst walking then do your prior research. Look for routes that say that they are buggy or wheel chair friendly. The last thing you need is to be half way into your walk and come across a sty, its game over for your walk and you’ll have to turn around and walk back the way you came.
There are plenty of walks that are suitable for buggies, with smooth terrain and no climbing required.
2.Use a Buggy Board
If you’re walking with a baby and a toddler/younger child then a buggy board is a great idea. These handy boards clip onto your buggy and allow your child to stand on the board while you push. Granted they don’t make the buggy that easy to manoeuvre and they don’t work well on anything but smooth terrain, but they are a handy item to use when your toddler starts complaining that their legs are aching or begins begging you to pick them up. We’ve found that younger children love the novelty of the buggy board, they’ve been a real life saver for us.
3.Wear your child
If your baby/younger toddler enjoys being in a sling or in a backpack (we are talking the special kind of backpack designed to carry children and aren’t suggesting you put your child into a regular backpack!) then these are just perfect for taking on walks as this means you don’t need to take a buggy and so you have a lot more choice of where to walk because you are able to climb and step over things and go on lumpy and bumpy terrain. Young babies tend to love the closeness of a sling too and will often nod off whilst you enjoy the fresh air and the great outdoors.
4.Pick short routes
If you are taking little legs walking then be sure to choose short routes. We can’t expect our children to ramble miles with us, so unless you’re prepared for lots of moaning and the end result being you carrying your child then just keep it short and simple.
It’s also nice for them to feel the sense of achievement when they’ve walked the whole route, even if it is just a short route.
5.Choose interesting routes
To help keep little ones interested why not pick a route with things of interest along the way; a sculpture trail perhaps or a forest to explore. Children are much more likely to stay focused and interested if they are having fun whilst walking.
Think of fun games that you can play whilst out walking, again keeping them interested; eye-spy, hide and seek, dinosaur hunting and so on.
7.Stop half way
A nice idea when walking with the family is to pick a route that has a convenient half way stopping point, be it for a picnic or for a pub lunch. This will give the children something to focus on and will refuel you all half way through.
If you really do struggle to get your little ones motivated to go walking then why not try Geo-caching. This fun game has an app that you can download and let the kids lead. Planted all around the countryside are little boxes, some tiny, some bigger and you have to follow the map and find them. This is a really exciting addition to a walk and gives the walk a purpose rather than just a ramble.
You can let your child/children loose with the app and they can lead the way.
Some of the boxes are big enough to hide treasure in so take along a few trinkets to pop into a box too, almost like a treasure hunt.
Believe us, Geo-caching is a real winner with children of all ages.
If you’ve been walking for a while then blood sugar levels can drop and children can get grumpy very quickly! Take some healthy snacks to perk them up as you walk and perhaps save a really yummy ‘treat’ snack for the end to serve as an incentive to complete the walk.
10.Don’t give up
If you get yourself all geared up, pick a route, do all of the above and your walk is still a total flop then don’t be disheartened! All the best laid plans fail at one point or another and its important to just give it a try another time.
The more your children get out and about walking the more used to it they will become and you’ll find they’ll be able to walk further and further until eventually you aren’t carrying them/pushing them at all anymore.
Encouraging your children to get into walking is only ever going to be a good thing. Its great quality family time spent together with no TV/phones/work etc, it gets you all out and about into the outdoors, breathing in some fresh air, it gets the heart pumping and it clears the mind, winning all around we’d say.
Happy family walking!