Hiking with teens

Getting teens outside to enjoy a hike is just as important to them as it is to anyone else. The benefits of the great outdoors to teens include getting fresh air, exercise and learning about their surroundings to name a few. Even though it is important, it is not always easy especially since they enjoy the creature comforts of home like electronics. There are ways to get teens out on a hike and utilizing the ones that work for your teen are the best way to get them to participate.

Capitalizing on a teen’s interests are the best way to convince them to go hiking. One of the most important things to do is include their friends; they will be much more interested if they can bring a friend. Have them decide where to go on the hike or make the plan of when to go and how to get there. Another strategy is to connect hiking to something they are interested in like animals, photography, art or other exercise. If teens get interested about the hike in one of these ways, it will help sell the idea.

There are other things to prepare for once you get teens out hiking. Keep them comfortable is task number one; keeping them warm or cool and comfortable with the proper clothing and shoes is imperative. Feeding them is also necessary and not just what you like find out what kind of snack they want and bring it. Let them have the cool gear or at least gear that makes them feel the part. Keep the hike short if that is what is they want do not try to overdo it the first time out. Lastly, make it fun the more fun teens have the more likely they are to want to go again.

Technology is the last thing to discuss in regards to teens and hiking. There are arguments to get them away from the phones and other hand held devices and hiking is a good way to do that. The other side of that argument is to let them have their phone to use it for things like navigation or social media posts while hiking. As long as the phone can be used in connection with the hike, I could be convinced it is ok as long as it is necessary for them to be interested. A better idea is to utilize a map and compass or GPS to have the connection to a device but it breaks the phone dependency. Technology teens and hiking is best left to those involved in the hike and is negotiable.

Take a teen on a hike share your enjoyment of the outdoors with them.

https://www.nps.gov/mabi/learn/kidsyouth/teens.htm Mountains & Rivers Forever Campers & Leaders on the Appalachian Trail NPS Photo

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