May was National Walking Month and that those that embraced it may have found new opportunities for a healthier lifestyle. Following suit, June is a month where leading an active and healthy life is encouraged and you can take advantage of this with the whole family in tow! June celebrates the Great Outdoors, so carry on walking and trying to achieve those 10,000 steps a day, but this time you could explore nature in all its glory!
Walking with small children - and even with teens - can be challenging at times, whether because of the difficulty of a certain trail or because they might not feel like hiking and would prefer to stay home and watch TV; however, it could be a rewarding experience they will enjoy.
So, how can you make sure everyone enjoys walking in the great outdoors?
Keeping everyone happy on the trail can be difficult, especially if you have toddlers, but the trick is to get them to start early. Walking often and making it part of the family routine can help kids to grow with a passion for hiking and the outdoors. It is also important that the chosen trail is appropriate. Toddlers and small children may not be able to walk for miles or on challenging terrains and could therefore find it easier on short, flat trails.
Allow your toddler to explore under your supervision, whether he or she wants to touch moss, collect pebbles or jump in puddles. They will be interested in their surroundings if they can engage their senses, including touch.
Making your walk fun for the whole family is important too - and keeping your kids' interests in mind can be a great way to ensure they have fun and enjoy the outdoors. Do they like water? Taking them to see waterfalls and to explore lakes, for instance, can be a good option. In addition you could try adding something special to your nature walks by playing games: I-spy, spot the animals, treasure hunts, hide-and-seek, chase... the options can be limitless and varied from one walk to the next.
Children like to be involved in adult decisions, so teach them how to read a map, help them pack their own rucksack, allow them to carry a camera and take pictures and let them hold the dog's lead if you're taking your pet with you as well. Giving your child responsibilities can help lead your children to become more self-confident and trust more in themselves.
While it can be a little difficult to allow toddlers and small children to lead the way, at least in the beginning, teens could more easily choose their own trail and lead the whole family. This could be an interesting way to keep them engaged and can help them to develop leadership skills as well as their own self-confidence.
Your teenagers can also pack their own rucksacks and choose the food and drinks they want to bring; letting them plan and manage their own things could make them more excited for the trip. While on the trail, talking about subjects that interest them and learning about nature, for instance, might keep them interested and looking forward to the next family hike.
Learning to lead a healthier lifestyle can start at a very young age so it makes sense to introduce your family to walking activities early on in their lives.
Your health can also be a factor when it comes to life insurance premiums, so do your best to reach your 10,000 steps a day and encourage a healthy lifestyle with the whole family!
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