Walking with Children

August 5, 2019

Walking with children is fraught with difficulties and concerns for many. It does not have to be. Get over the initial ‘I don’t want to go’ and once they are out and about it can be extremely satisfying.

Above Striding Edge with Red Tarn

I have based this on primary aged children, in fact mine. Once a child gets to the age of 12 plus they should be fit and raring to go on most of the walks on this website. Under 5 is nearly impossible although at a younger age a backpack offers an opportunity to go further.

‘Boring’ is the common refrain on anything that does not involve some scrambling on the rocks, water or other things ‘of interest’. A nice wide ridge with splendid 360 degree views does not hit the mark, neither does a path which makes its way up a gradual slope that lasts more than about 20 minutes to half an hour. Walking with children has to be fun.

Messing about on the rocks

Top 10 Tips

  1. Make the walk interesting. Rocks and scrambling will do this, also any walk that includes water (rivers, tarns or lakes). Watching your kids heading up a rock face may increase your own heart rate but it will be memorable for them. As I said avoid the tedious grassy slopes.
  2. Photos. I am now led to believe have an instagram they can post adds to the enjoyment. Certainly looking back at photos that include them (not just views, they are not interested) helps.
  3. I bought the children a book where they can catalogue all their walks. It can be difficult to get them to fill it in but they won’t regret it. This offers a structure and well, as they are their father’s daughter I can imagine they will enjoy ticking.
  4. Give them their own pack of goodies to carry. Even if this is a comfort toy, some water and an apple then they will feel part of the walk.
  5. Do not be over fussed on gear! The basics of waterproofs and comfortable (and stout but not boots) footwear is more than enough when out walking with children. If you load them with too much, aka Duke of Edinburgh, they will just think its not worth it.
  6. Bring treats. Whether you approve of sweets/chocolates etc or not for me they provided a vital incentive . We will stop in 15 minutes for a sweet stop certainly helps break up the walk. Lunch as well if the walk is for the best part of the day.
  7. Do give them a good breakfast.
  8. Dogs distract and entertain. Mist and Bracken before her provided some memorable moments.
  9. You will get grief but as with any child’s activity it passes. Don’t let it bother you.
  10. Going down is fun. A steep grassy descent is entertaining. Scrambling up, grassy down.

Afterwards they were happy as sandboys and keen to try another one. They will remember their walks forever.

Top Tip: Improve the flavour of your bottled water by allowing your daughter to drop a lemon bonbon she was eating in it at some point in the walk….

Six Family Walks in the Yorkshire Dales

Six Family Walks in the Lake District

These walks are really for ages 5 to 12. Teenagers should be more than capable of the longer walks.

Enjoy them

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1 Comment
  • Max Stocker says:

    Hello Jonathan, you gave us some fantastic advice (“us” being myself and my 10 year-old son, who broke his arm just a week before his first ever trip to the Lakes).

    So, out went the Pike and Gable but that was all for the good because we roamed the Loweswater fells and hardly saw a soul. You did say Barrow was a fantastic first-time walk – again, spot on, although Knott Rigg and Ard Crags from Newlands Hause (the car does the first half) pushed it close. Only rain – the first of the week – prevented us going on from Barrow to Outerside.

    Doing Haystacks the “wrong way” up Scarth Gap meant a bit of one-arm scrambling at the end but by strolling on to Brandreth we were again alone on the fells. Not bad for August!

    Really like your website and thanks again for your advice. The boy is hooked and we will go up again soon.

    Kind regards, Max Stocker

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