Trekking with Toddlers:

And just like that your baby is no longer sitting nicely in their baby carrier! Those walks that you have been enjoying are starting to become a little trickier, there is a little more whinging happening and there is the realisation that perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to the carrier… or the pram!

At one time I had three toddlers on the go, it changed the dynamic of our outside adventures completely. However, we soon adapted to what worked for us. It can get a little frustrating for a while when your child first begins to get too big for their carrier, yet can’t manage any of the longer fell walks you have been use to enjoying. Perseverance is key, and try to remember ‘it’s just a phase’, you really will blink and they’ll be as tall as you striding on ahead up those mountains!

I have collected some tips that I have found to help during our toddler based walks, I hope they help and you are able to try them out! 

hiking household

 


Pack the Snacks!

Is there ever a walk with little ones that doesn’t involve snacks? I think we all know that parenting involves many skills but having an array of snacks at all times has got to be the best advice I can give any parent making the transition from baby to toddler! 

We use the promise of snacks in a whole variety of ways; often the trusty packet of crisps for my youngest to hold can offer a much needed distraction when they start to get tired, bored or ready to get home! Often I find she isn’t actually eating the crisps she is merely holding them – having that distraction seems to hold off the tears for a little longer! 

On our longer fell walks we tend to use snacks to help our walk run smoother, and to help reach the distance that we would like to cover. We can often be found telling our little ones: “when we reach 1 mile you can have a snack” or “once we reach the bridge we will all get a chocolate coin”. It sounds really simple but trust me it works and before they know it they have covered a few miles and are back at the car 🙌🏻 .

Useful Tip: set various alarms on your phone to go off at certain ‘snack times’ throughout your walk, it helps to stop the constant asking for snacks as you can say: “wait for the alarm, that’s when it is snack time”. 

Distraction!

You will notice that a running theme of mine is the art of distraction. Without distraction I am not sure I would be able to get through my day to day life! We all know that children can get very cross over the smallest of situations; the wrong coloured plate, the wrong shoes or even the way you looked at them! It can feel like a never ending cycle of whinging. Sadly, when out on your walks, this whinging will still continue. However, distracting little ones while they walk is one of the easier things you will have to do. The great outdoors offers a huge playground of excitement for toddlers. They can stop to pick up stones, collect a selection of sticks to take home or even search for trolls under the bridge. We have a few games that we play when the toddlers in our family are getting particularly tired and need distracted. Our favourite family outdoor games are Eye Spy, Who am I and Hide & Seek. Give them a go and let me know what games work for your family 😀❤️.

Plan your walk carefully!

Now that your little one is wanting to walk during the outdoor adventures your walks have to be adjusted slightly. I would recommend shortening your walks so that they are more ‘little leg’ friendly, particularly at the beginning when your toddler is building up their stamina. Perhaps it means your fell walks have to be on pause for a little while? It is only while they are adjusting to saying goodbye to their baby carrier/pram, before you know it they will be joining you on your longer walks once again.

Some fantastic walk alternatives for toddlers are: walks that involve train-spotting, those that have water linked to them so that they can spend some time skimming stones and walks that include play parks. 

Routes may now have to be shorter and more awareness needs to be on what your little one is wearing throughout their walk. They may be using their energy to walk but they will soon get cold in the winter so, as ever, layer up and take a new interest in your toddlers footwear. Those flimsy shoes and thick socks that they wore in their baby carrier might not be suitable now your toddler is on different terrain. Some children like walking boots however, my kids have always preferred wellies.  

Most importantly ….

JUST ENJOY IT! Once you have accepted that now they are walking there will be some more challenges you will be able to adjust and plan your new walks accordingly. Yes, your routes won’t go to plan, there will be more complaining about those tired legs and your walks will no doubt take longer BUT…. try to take a moment to look at the walk through your child’s eyes. The enjoyment they will get from such tiny little things is inspiring. Why not take that magnifying glass they are pestering you about on your next walk, bring some bugs home, pretend the stick is stick man and most importantly enjoy being out in the fresh air all together. 

          **********************

Blaze Trails and Tikes Hikes offer an array of walking groups for new parents to toddler walks. For more information see the Blaze Trails website, or for those local to Carlisle see the Tikes Hikes section of the Hiking Household website. 

hiking household