I haven’t updated this blog in a while, we were busy adventuring! So, instead of going back a couple of weeks writing about the exciting things we’ve done, I wanted to do a quick post to help families with young children get their kids started on a life of adventure.
It truly is the most exciting thing in the world to start seeing your young ones plunge into heart-pounding activities without fear. Living in New Zealand – the adventure capital of the world – it really was bound to happen sooner or later.
So far, our 3 and 4-year-olds have gone hiking in a native bush, trekked in a geothermal park, ridden a ski lift, gone sledding, “driven” a river boat and kayaked on a river towards a waterfall. These are things we would have never imagined them doing at such a young age. But that they did.
Here’s how we introduced them to an adventure-filled life and how we plan to continue doing so:
- Keep Safety Top of Mind – Of course when travelling with young kids, their safety is always any parent’s top concern. Before you indulge in any activity, find out if they allow kids to join. There might be height and weight restrictions for some activities, so it is best to choose those that are fun for the whole family.
- Preparation is Key – Before you indulge in any sport or activity that may require physical movement or conquering any fear, it is best to introduce it early on. Go to the provider’s website, look at brochures and watch videos of other people doing the activity. This way, your kid would be comfortable with the safety procedures or use of any equipment as part of the adventure.
- Get all the Essentials Out of the Way – If you want kids to be comfortable with any activity, it is important that you tick off all the essentials. Feed them well before the trip so they don’t get hungry on the way to the river or elsewhere (trips can sometimes take a while to get from one base to another). Dress them so they are comfortable, can move enough and are warm when they need to be. Make sure they go to the bathroom before you board any boat or train or any vehicle that will not give them easy access to a toilet.
- Start Small – Develop your children’s love for the outdoors by getting them out of the house. Take a walk to the park or go to the beach so they understand that sunshine and fresh air are good for them. Give them the freedom to explore with little fun stuff like stomping on puddles, gathering leaves and flowers or making sandcastles.
- Be Afraid for Them but Never Show It – I’ve always been a scaredy cat – that ride down ski lift had me fearing for my life. So you won’t be able to imagine the kind of panic attack I have every time my daughter wants to try something even slightly dangerous. To be honest, I never really learned to control that fear and that’s okay. It’s only natural to feel that way as a parent. But I did learn to hide it from her so she can be fearless.
Letting your children be free to enjoy a life of adventure will boost their confidence and help them learn new life skills. And to be entirely truthful, travel with children is already hard – adventure travel even more so. But, it is really worth it.