There are days when it can be a real struggle to get out the door for a hike with the whole family. I think the word "hike" is loaded...along with "walk", "dentist", "flu shot"...and for my older daughter..."avocado".
This morning I read a quick article about a 5 year old that just completed thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Image courtesy of NPR: https://www.npr.org/2021/08/25/1030924211/5-year-old-hikes-appalachian-trail-harvey-sutton
I realize that just as not all adults want to embark on a 2,100 mile walk, not all kids do either. However, I do think it is worth noting that things that feel impossible often just require a bit more effort to make them happen.
This kiddo didn't silently, or probably even easily, hike for 209 days straight. His parents played with him on their hike. They engaged him, and that made all the difference.
So, how can you get your kids out the door for a quick hike?
Don't call it a hike. You are going on an adventure, or exploring in the woods...you are neither walking nor hiking.
Pack food - lots of snacks and water. Special treats for tough sections of the trail (steep hills), can help motivate to get to the top.
Bring a friend - there is something about having a friend along that keeps kiddos moving. Bonus points if that friend tends to really enjoy the activity so that there isn't mutual mutiny.
PLay. Engage. Talk. A hike with your kids is not likely to be a meditative experience, so set your expectations appropriately. On a recent tough hike, I played "would you rather" with my kids for almost 2 hours. It was fun and made the time go much more quickly for all of us.
Involve them in the planning - break out the maps and talk about where you want to go.
As adults, we can forget to make things fun. Hikes are treated as accomplishments rather than adventures...but this is not the way kids see things. If we take a step back and remember to enjoy the journey, our kids might be more apt to want to come along for the ride.
Stay Wild and Free!