Feed on

I’ve just returned from a 3 weeks holiday with my family in the Lake District, in the North West of England (where I’m originally from).  Walking is something my husband and I have done with our boys since they were very young.  Now, aged 18 and 15, they are as eager as ever to come on walking holidays and will happily hike up any mountain we suggest – the steeper the better, as far as my 18 year old is concerned.

Hiking up Scarfell Pike - Lake District UK - July 2010

Spending quality time walking with your children is one of the best ways I know of raising great kids.  It’s a real pleasure to get out in the fresh air (sometimes a bit too fresh in England), admire the fabulous scenery and spend hours of time together.  There’s really nothing like it and I recommend it to all parents who are keen walkers.  Even if you’re not a walker yet, you might get to love it if you give it a try.

You don’t have to climb mountains

Quality family time together can be as easy as walking on the beach.  Slip off your shoes, walk along the water’s edge,  feel the water between your toes and the wind in your hair.  Check out your local area and see if there are any local foot paths and walk-ways.  Are there any national parks in your area?

Having lived in Sydney for almost 18 years, I think we have walked almost every harbour, bush and beach walk with our boys.  Even now, if we are heading into the City at the weekend to visit museums, markets or gardens, we will park the car on the south side of the harbour and walk over Sydney Harbour Bridge to our destination. Walking back over the Bridge at sunset is an experience not to be missed.

Total Cost – Zero

One of the great things about walking is that it’s free.  If you pack a delicious picnic for lunch, eaten away from crowds and queues, a day spent with your children will cost you very little.

Lunch Stop

Don’t walk in Ugg Boots

You wouldn’t wear slippers to play football or wear ski boots when you go cycling, but you’d be surprised how may walkers wear totally inappropriate footwear while walking.  Just last week in a UK newspaper there was an article about walkers twisting ankles and having to be rescued (at great expense) because they were hiking in Ugg Boots.  I’ve seen children and their parents hiking in the Blue Mountains (2 hours drive from Sydney) in thongs – that’s flip-flops by the way, not the other type of thong.

Leaving the summit of Bowfell - Lake Distrit UK - July 2010

If you’re planning a walk, think about what is appropriate footwear for the type of walk you are doing.  Hiking boots that give proper ankle support are best for walking in the mountains; walking/running shoes might be more suitable for flat walks.  If your children have sore feet at the end of the day because of wearing inappropriate footwear, they are unlikely to want to go walking again.

Added Bonus

Of course, you wont just have lots of fun walking together as a family, you’ll also get fit if you do it regularly.  Walking – just one more way of raising great kids.

Final Photo (I can’t resist)

Summit - Avalanche Peak New Zealand

Thanks for reading another Raising Great Kids Blog. You can leave any comments or suggestion below.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjog:

Raising Great Kids – Cycling

Raising Great Kids – Tryathlon

Jan Littlehales

12 Responses to “Raising Great Kids – Walking”

  1. Hi Jan,
    A big thumbs up to walking. It’s a great physical exercise that you can double as a social activity. And because it’s low impact you can make a day of it – or extend your walking episode at will. It’s a natural activity in raising great kids. Glad to see you enjoyed your holiday. Your hiking pictures look great.

  2. Hilary says:

    Great pictures Jan, and as you said, what a fabulous way for raising great kids. Walking keeps you fit, brings you closer to nature, and enables you to spend quality time together.

    A couple of weeks ago, we packed a picnic, and walked up to Barrenjoey lighthouse at Sydney’s Palm Beach. The weather was great, the views awesome, and the company was wonderful :) .

  3. Jill Brown says:

    Hi Jan,

    Beautiful scenery in the pics and a lovely family.

    I like walking although I probably don’t do enough lately. Your article has reminded me that it’s important to take a walk more often. Growing up, my mother would often want the family walking after dinner. The dog and the cat came along as well.

    I recall we once also walked over the Harbour Bridge. I suggested we also walk up over the arch and my mother dismissed the idea as nonsense. 30 years later it’s a profitable business :)

  4. Thanks for your comments Jill. You’re right about the Harbour Bridge climb being a profitable business. Whenever I drive (or walk) over the bridge there are always at least 3 groups doing the bridge climb.

  5. Thanks for your comments Hilary. We too love the walk up to Barenjoey Lighthouse. The view looking back to Palm Beach and Pittwater is fantastic.

  6. Thanks David – you’re right about walking being a great low impact physical exercise. It’s perfect for young and old, and everybody in between!

  7. Carolyn says:

    So nice to see you having fun with your boys – a great way for building relationships, chatting as you go. We live in a country with a temperate climate and beautiful contrasting scenery. You can take so much more of it in when you walk.
    We also have done many walks with our kids, starting when they were pre-schoolers, and still love it today.

  8. Thanks Carolyn – My husband and I have always loved walking (mountains if possible) so taking our two boys walking from a very early age was always going to happen. Fortunately they love it too and I hope we’ll continue to climb mountains together for many years to come.

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi Jan,

    I love that walking connects you through presence, nature and the now. The energy in nature is always wonderful. My kids and I are only just beginning to start short bush walks (my youngest being 5 can only cope with short walks at this stage).

    Oh..and the air….breathe it in! :-)

    Stay well, Eileen.

  10. Hi Eileen,
    My husband and I have always loved walking, so were keen to encourage our boys to be good at it so we could all walk together. Over the years we’ve done some amazing family walks.
    Your youngest will soon build up strength to tackle longer walks – keep the walks interesting and always carry plenty of food!

  11. Kate says:

    Hi – inspiring to see you can still get the kids up a mountain as teens! I am just introducing my daughter to hiking (she’s nearly 6 months) and hoping it will continue for many years to come! Any tips on how to keep them interested as they get older…?!
    Kate, babyroutes.co.uk

  12. Hi Kate,
    Great to hear from another enthusiastic walker :)
    Re tips on keeping your children interested right through to teenage years:
    . make sure you always take a yummy packed lunch – and lots of it!
    . hiking boots that are comfortable and water proof
    . suitable clothing
    . lots of praise and encouragement along the way
    . a treat at the end – double scoop ice-creams when they are young – we now go to the pub :)
    . go on walking holidays – so walking is part of the whole holiday experience
    Your daughter will be in a back-pack at the moment – I remember those days well. You have so many happy walking years ahead of you Kate.
    Thanks for dropping by.

Leave a Reply