A few days ago, walking through the streets of my city, I met a couple I hadn't seen in a long time. He is one of those people with whom you usually meet in the mountains and on the hiking trails, and without knowing them at all, you always have a good time talking to them. I asked them what was their life, surprised not to have seen them in all this time. They told me that they had been parents, that they had two small children and that they had almost hung up their boots. With a certain look of desperation, they told me about their various attempts to go on hiking trips, which they ended up doing, without almost getting out of the car. When they are older, then we will go with them to the mountains! Knowing from experience that when they are older you can forget that they want to go with you, I asked them if they remembered their first activities, how they became fond of them, how much effort it took them to get to the level of hiking they did before becoming parents or how many times they had to turn around on one of the routes they were trying to do. I also reminded them that every group must adapt to the less experienced and prepared members, preparing the activities that fit them and that will help them gain experience. Seeing that they were listening attentively, I took the opportunity to tell them about the benefits of doing physical activities in the middle of nature for the children's development, as well as the educational and fun things that can be done. This is precisely what we have to encourage by turning the route for them into a great adventure in which they will discover places, animals, mountains, plants and many other things that will surely attract their attention.
Choose the route that best suits the conditions of the children, forgetting for now the routes that we would like to take, as with anyone who is starting out in hiking or the mountains, knowing that if we force them too much it is very likely that they will not want to come back.
Patience should not be lacking, stopping as many times as necessary, paying special attention to their food and hydration, knowing that practically everything will call their attention and taking advantage of this great amount of stimuli that the environment offers to motivate and entertain them, making the route a real adventure that transmits a great amount of values, such as respect for nature. The company of other children also tends to give great results.
Keeping it safe, not exposing children to unnecessary dangers, but being clear that they will want to climb, jump... and helping them to do so safely. It is obvious that we are not in the park near our house and following the logical rules of safety will help us avoid problems.
The weather is another important factor, making them endure bad weather, rain, wind or cold is usually not very advisable. Later on they will have time to experience the force of a blizzard or the unpleasant sensation of walking through thick fog. The days chosen have to be stable and it is important to know the forecast of the evolution of the weather to avoid surprises.
It is essential to be well equipped, with clothing and footwear according to the route and the time of year, spare clothes, sufficient water and food, maps, compass or GPS, as well as the usual sunscreen and hats to protect you from the sun. We have to think that on more than one occasion we will be in areas where we will not have mobile phone coverage and we will be walking through a changing environment that we cannot control.
Preparing the route and the backpack together, I have even given them the opportunity to carry theirs with some material, without making an extra effort, will give them hope and motivation to face the next day's route.
It's not about turning them into trekking or mountain fanatics, it's about enjoying doing things together.
Time had passed almost without us noticing and their faces now had that expression that you see so many times at the top of a mountain, we said goodbye not without first calling for the next chat on one of the routes that we will surely meet again.