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November 21, 2018

You might be an experienced hiker. The type of person who enjoys multi-day hikes as much as a short stroll to a local park. You know how to pack your backpack, what to wear and how to stay safe. The thing is that your knowledge might not always help when it comes to hiking with toddlers.

Our little people have their needs. You might carry them a good part of your family walk, which is a decent exercise. The trick is to reduce your gear to the bare minimum while having everything important.

Here at Panda Child Carrier we have gone on many hikes with toddlers and learnt what works. The 5 biggest mistakes parents do when hiking with toddlers might inspire you or even save walk with your young family.

1) Over-packing

There is nothing wrong with being ready. The problem is, that combined weight of stuff and your child is just too much to carry. A baby carrier also weighs something and it all adds up.

A good trick is to pile up all of the things you want to take on your family hike. Then reduce things to the bare minimum and also remove unnecessary packaging. A few plasters and Betadine instead of a first aid kit, only one set of spare clothes, packing food in a cling wrap instead of a pretty bento box, etc.
Always think about the hike you plan to take. Is it a comfortable walk where you can refill your water bottles or a challenging hike with a rough surface?

2) Helping too much

We, adults, tend to help toddlers more than is necessary. You might be surprised how well a little toddler can navigate through a terrain. Before you offer help, teach and show your child what to do. Where to place feet, how to hold on and how to nail a loose surface. If it is safe to do so, first encourage and motivate before you help. Your child will love satisfaction which comes with nailing natural obstacles.

You will be amazed how logs, rocks or small climbs will motivate your child to walk a bit further.

3) Dressing your child in shorts/skirts

You can hike on a scorching hot day, or you just feel that shorts will be more comfortable for your child. Think about plants with thorns, unavoidable falls or the UV exposure. There are many good reasons to dress your child in long pants. It is easier to deal with bruises than scraped knees.

4) Putting stiff shoes on your toddler's feet

Look how your child walks. How often she flexes her foot. Stiff, sturdy shoes are for adults. Young kids need to wear shoes not interfering with the natural gait. It means a soft, flexible shoe that is fully attached to the foot. The shoe should protect from a hot surface and sharp edges.

Read more about shoes here.

5) Not protecting children against flies and mozzies

Although insects don't bite kids more than adults, children tend to have more significant responses to mosquito bites. Flies buzzing in their ears and landing in their eyes can also contribute to your child's meltdown. Take a mosquito net (not PE treated as a child can chew on it) and apply an effective mosquito repellent.
The mechanical barrier (the net) weighs next to nothing and is very useful. You can have a fly net both for your baby hiking carrier (optional accessory for Panda Child Carrier) and your child when she walks on her own. Be careful with choosing natural insect repellents, as many don't work.

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