Hiking is one the best ways to get some exercise and take in some of the best scenery that Northern California has to offer, but not only that, it can be a great way to get your kids off the couch and get healthy. According to the American Hiking Society, “Regular physical activity reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. It can also help control weight and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

Though in an era where more and more kids are too busy on their phones or playing video games, it could be tough for kids to have fun while hiking. Here are a few tips that can help make your child’s experience in nature one to remember.

Before even setting out on your hiking fun, it’s important to have the right gear for you and your family. Depending on the length and type of the trail, you might want to invest in a pair of comfortable hiking boots. Regular tennis shows might not be the best option for your child so having the right footwear can make their walk on rugged trails that much more enjoyable.

Hiking with your children can go two ways. Either it can be a fun experience for everyone or it can be boring and have your children feeling miserable. One way that can make your hikes more fun for the kids is to plan some fun outdoor activities. Keeping your child engaged with nature through activities such as scavenger hunts or “I Spy” can make their hiking experience more enjoyable.

Another way to prevent a temper tantrum on the trail is to have your child set the pace of your hike. If you feel your kids are having a difficult time keeping up with you, they might feel a little upset. So it’s not a bad idea to take it slow so they have time to walk and see what nature has to offer! Speaking of time to look around, giving your child a break is worth doing so on your family hike. Perhaps pausing to examine a leaf or even a rock gives your child a chance to stay focused and feed their curiosity for nature.

While you might not know just how long your hiking trips can be, it’s a safe bet to have plenty of snacks and water for you and your children. As Active writes, “Growing kids need more fuel for a hiking trip than adults and it’s a great motivation to keep them moving.” Foods such as trail mix, granola bars, fruit and nuts are all great options for a quick boost of energy.

Most importantly, parents need to remember that kids are still kids. Meaning, if they seem to be getting tired on their walk, it’s alright to turn around a little bit earlier than expected. Each child has a different attention span and if you are forcing your child to continue the hike, it can cause a sense of frustration for you and your child. So be sure to know that you might not cover as much hiking with a child as you would with another adult.

If you would like more great tips on hiking with your kids, you can find more here.