Friday, April 27, 2012

How to walk with slow-walking children

Slow your pace when day hiking with children.
Perhaps one aspect of childhood we adults tend to forget about is that kids have shorter legs than us. Because of that, they can’t easily keep pace with us. Indeed, for every step we take, they may need to make two or three. The result is they often have to run just to keep up with our walk. Regardless of children’s boundless energy, they’ll quickly tire if forced to run a mile or more. That means whining, you carrying them if they’re young, and probably that they’ll come to dislike hiking.

The solution is for you to slow your pace. That sounds easy, but if you’re long legged like me, it quickly becomes tiring to force oneself to go slow!

The solution is to use the rest step. It’s usually reserved for climbing steep slopes, but you can use it on level surfaces just as well to slow your pace.

In the rest step, you take a half-step, then bring the other foot up to it, lightly planting it and then moving that planted foot forward again it. The rest step ensures that you can keep moving forward without getting worn out.

Give it a try – your kids will appreciate it!

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.