Tips for Backpacking with Kids
Taking Kids on a Hiking Trail
Backpacking with kids can be a rewarding experience, both for them and you. But there are some essential things to remember when taking kids on a hiking trail. Aside from safety and first aid preparation, here are some helpful hints to help make hiking with kids as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Wear Comfortable Gear and Clothing
Comfort is key when it comes to hiking with kids. Hiking shoes or boots should match the weather and terrain. Clothing should be lightweight and offer protection from the natural environment, such as repelling mosquitoes. Be sure to dress everyone for the weather.
Alternate Transport for Smaller Kids
Remember that tiny feet can tire easily. Parents of smaller kids may want to bring along a backpack carrier or all-terrain stroller. These are generally lightweight and can be used for the entire hike or just when the young child needs a rest.
Bring Plenty of Snacks and Water
In order to maintain endurance and energy, kids need to stay hydrated and nourished. Healthy snacks and a good supply of water can take care of that. Be sure an adult is carrying the main water supply, as that could get overbearing for children to manage. Ideally, each person should carry their own full water bottle. Beyond that, one or more adults can carry extra water.
Take Frequent Breaks
Don't forget that kids may need more frequent breaks than adults when hiking. This includes stopping for snacks and drinks. But it also includes simply resting or taking breaks to use the restroom. The point of the trip is to have fun, not to overwork the kids. Remember to take time out to enjoy nature along the backpacking trail.
Plan Route in Advance
Planning out the desired route in advance is the safest way to go when bringing kids along. You don't want to get lost while trying to create a fun time for the kids. It helps if you take a trail you've taken before. That way, you'll know what to expect. This way, you can show things to the kids and you know the distance and what to expect along the way.
Have a Fun Destination
Backpacking with kids can be enjoyable with or without a specific destination. However, making plans for a specific fun destination can be exciting to the kids. Think about the hiking area. Waterfalls and other natural landmarks are something kids can look forward to at the end of the trail. This can be a great motivator to keep going.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Part of being a child is playing outdoors. Outdoor play can offer a child many benefits, such as lessons in nature and physical movement skills. No matter how careful the child and parent are to follow safety rules, sometimes children get hurt. Below, you will find some typical minor injuries a child can receive while playing, as well as advice and safety tips for each. If the child's injury is an emergency, call 911 right away.
Minor Cuts and Scrapes
For minor cuts and scrapes, rinse the wound with clear water to avoid irritation and rinse with an antiseptic. Next, apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. For the most minor wounds, leave the area uncovered, as a bandage can slow the healing process. For deeper minor wounds, apply a bandage of appropriate size to help prevent infection from getting in. Change the bandage and re-apply the antibiotic ointment twice daily, until the wound has closed. Large, deep, or puncture wounds should receive medical attention via 911 right away.
The best way to prevent sunburn is to apply sunscreen on your child every time he plays outside. Sunscreen that contains an SPF of 30 or higher (the higher, the better) and is PABA free is the best for use in children. If your child has a sunburn, gently place cool cloths on the affected area for a few minutes. Afterward, apply aloe gel. Do not apply lotions or water warmer than room temperature, as this will sting the sunburned area.
Insect Bites and Stings
To prevent an insect bite or sting from happening, use insect repellent with DEET. If your child has received an insect bite or sting, first remove the stinger (if applicable) by scraping it off with a credit card or similar surface. Wash the area thoroughly. Do not squeeze the affected area. This can spread any venom. Apply an antiseptic to remove germs and ease the itch. If a bite is swollen, apply an antihistamine cream. If a bite or sting becomes hard or infected, contact your child's pediatrician.
During outdoor play, it is possible for your child to experience allergic reactions to insect bites or stings, plants, and more. Signs of an allergic reaction include abnormal swelling, rash/hives, having trouble breathing, fever, and nausea, and even anaphylaxis. If your child has a known allergy, it is important to keep an emergency safety kit containing epinephrine shots, in case of anaphylaxis. If this occurs, treat your child accordingly and get emergency help right away by calling 911.
Bruises and Bumps
Outdoor play for children often includes dodging balls, running fast, and even just playing rough. Bruises and bumps happen frequently in many children just from playing. If your child gets a bruise or bump, first check the area to be sure that the injury isn't more serious. Place a cold compress, such as an ice pack or frozen vegetables on the affected area to reduce swelling. Contact a doctor if needed. Take proper concussion cautions if the injury is on the head.
This is not an all-inclusive list. However, it should help inform you regarding typical outdoor injuries and risks for children. Remember that your child’s licensed physician is the best source of information. Discuss these and other risks with that physician to compare and be sure you are doing the right thing.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
When you go out in the sun with your kids, are they protected from the harmful UVA and UVB rays? Are you absolutely sure? Everyone, even those who do not burn or those with darker skin tones need sun protection. This includes the appropriate sunscreen. But summer sun protection for kids goes beyond sunscreen alone. As an experienced mom and former nanny, I've learned a great deal about sun protection over the years.
What Time is it?
Watch the clock and go outside only during certain hours. Avoiding the sun altogether is one of the simplest ways to increase sun protection in children. Try to take the kids to the playground or other outings in early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is not so glaring. Other sun protection is still necessary during these hours, but the sun's rays will not be as intense.
Made in the Shade
If you simply cannot avoid being outside during peak sunlight hours, keep the kids in the shade. Under a tree in the park is one good spot. If there are no good shade trees, try an umbrella. Larger umbrellas offer the most protection for the most people. A sun shade on a baby stroller or carrier can make all the difference for the little ones. The goal is simply to keep the kids in the shade as much as possible.
Watch the Gear
Using protective clothing to cover up the skin is actually the best defense from the sun, even more effective than sunscreen when done correctly. In fact, an EWG report states that most suncreen and sunblock products on the market can actually do more harm than good. Some may even cause cancer. When shopping for protective clothing, look for 100% organic cotton with a tight weave. Try to cover as many areas of the body as possible. A brimmed hat with at least 3 inches of brim space is needed to shade the eyes and face.
Hide those Eyes
Along with the hat mentioned above, protect those eyes. Kids need to wear sunglasses with at least 99% protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun. This does not necessarily mean you need to spend a fortune on sunglasses for your kids. Even low cost sunglasses can do the trick. As long as the label states between 99 - 100% UV protection, you have chosen the right pair.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Eco-Friendly Parenting Tips for Going to the Park
Going to the park with the kids is fun. But it also can be bad for the environment if you aren't careful. I try my best to teach my kids greener ways to do everything, including going to the park. What's greener than the park? That may sound true in retrospect, but waste and mistreatment makes it not so green. So, how do you green your park trips?
Pack a Green Lunch
When packing lunch for the park, be cautious of the potential waste. Whenever possible, avoid disposable items and go for reusable, BPA free, earth-friendly containers and dishes. If you absolutely must use disposable, at least use something biodegradable or recyclable. Paper, plastic, and styrofoam disposable dinnerware and drinkware may seem easier. But at what cost? These items are often non-biodegradable and sit in landfills destroying the earth.
Do you know how many trees are cut down and how many toxic chemicals are emitted into the air to create these items? The most green lunch would likely be made of 100% natural and locally grown foods, not be packaged in a container, and be fully consumed with nothing left over. However, some people will not comply out of convenience. Therefore, the above tips will help reduce some of the waste.
Reduce Waste at the Park
In line with creating less waste, teach your kids not to litter at the park. Anything you bring with you should go home with you. If it's trash, it goes in the proper receptacle. If it's recyclable, same thing. Some parks do not have a recycle bin. In that case, take it home with you and recycle it yourself. Keeping the park clean helps foster a healthy environment, which in turn is good for the kids.
Avoid bringing unnecessary items to the park with you. That includes lunch items. But it also includes toys and other entertainment items. If the kids color at the park, don't let their papers litter the ground. If they blow bubbles, be sure the bottles and wands are taken home for rinse and reuse or recycling. Visit Condo Blues for an eco-friendly bubble recipe.
In addition to reducing your own waste when at the park with the kids, you can help combat the problem further. Help clean up other people's waste from the park. Go through the same routine you would with your own trash. Dispose of it properly, collecting recyclable items or placing them in receptacles if available.
Perfumes, products for the car, cleaning supplies, and even some toys (such as commercially sold bubbles) contain chemicals. These chemicals can pollute the park. Not only does this destroy the plants, but think of the animals that live in the park. It can be hazardous to their health and even deadly. If you absolutely must use some of these products, at least go for an all-natural green version.
Impact of Greening the Park Routine
You may not think one family cleaning up after themselves and others at the park can make a difference. Think again. How many times do you visit the park in a year? How much waste could be accrued in that time period if not picked up. In two years? Five? Looking at the big picture can help illustrate how much impact you and the kids could have on he environment. It's your choice whether to make that impact negative or positive.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Raising Kids Who Love The Outdoors
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
My kids absolutely love the outdoors. If you'd like yours to do the same, perhaps some of our family habits will inspire you to get your kids out there. Raising kids who love the outdoors is not as hard as you may be thinking right now. It's best to start early. But it's never too late to get in on the outdoor fun and adventures.
Make the outdoors a part of your normal family routine. When the kids and I go to any nearby stores, we always walk. We found a walking trail in our area that leads to pretty much every destination we have nearby. Whenever possible, we walk on this trail. We are a green family and try not to use vehicles if we don't have to. If we can walk or use a city bus, we will. This involves a great deal of walking. But we turn it into an adventure by using the trails or whatever else is around us. If we aren't outdoors in that way, you'll catch us outside reading, playing in the garden, and more. I work at home and the kids are homeschooled. So you'll even catch us working and studying outdoors. What each family does will vary. But the point is to be outdoors as much as possible.
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
While rescuing civilians from boring content and brands, this awesomely crazy family conquers the world, managing Intent-sive Nature while going on Upstream Parenting adventures & lessons, sometimes in an RV. They strive to cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they settle for rescue dogs and cats.
By supporting us, you support a single parent, healer, and minority small business that donates to and/or stands for several causes, including homeless pets, homeless people, trans youth, equality, helping starving artists, and more! A portion of all proceeds from our all-inclusive store, Intent-sive Nature goes toward worthy causes.
For guidance in the world of freelance writing or for advice on her specialty topics, Ask Lyn.