On our most recent podcast, my co-host Matt Colby and I talked about "Kidventures", the newest column at MetroParent. We were both humbled by writer Amber Storm's clearly superior parenting skills. Case in point: she routinely takes her four young kids hiking with her through the woods. Yeah, you read that right, four kids! On hikes!
Now don't get me wrong. My kids will walk without complaint. For miles. Quite happily, actually. The only problem is that the only place this has ever happened with any consistency is at Disney World. Interestingly, Matt has had the same experience with his two daughters.
So, clearly Disney World isn't the best answer to how to get your kids to go on long walks or road trips without complaint. As much as I wish we could go to Disney World for every "kidventure", it's just not possible.
Based on our conversation on our last podcast, here are our top three tips for getting through your next family excursion without complaints from the kids:
1. Set a goal
When your kids are walking toward something, they're much more willing to walk in general. Rather than walking just to walk, have a destination in mind. Matt walks to parks with his kids. Or, if you enjoy walking just to walk (as I do), why not have a bribe ready? For morning or evening walks (my favorite time to walk around the block), I entice the kids to come with me by making them "Popsicle walks."
Sometimes the best way to avoid complaints is to distract the kids so much they don't have time to think about minor annoyances. That's why Amber suggests bringing sturdy cardboard and markers along on nature hikes so the kids can draw or write about their adventures. Another good idea for long walks or car rides is to make up scavenger hunts or "I spy" games.
3. Build endurance
If you want your kids to behave better on longer trips, whether they're hikes, road trips or day trips, start small. Take short hour-long road trips well before the cross-country car trek. If your goal is for the kids to go on a mile-long hike with you, start with shorter walks through the woods.
Now that you have a plan in mind, check this article out if you're on the lookout for family-friendly hikes!