It’s that time of the year that you are planning for a family hiking day, and everyone is excited. It’s been a while since you spent time outdoors and enjoyed each other’s company. But do you know how far your 9-year-old can hike?
A 9-year-old kid can hike 3-6 miles, but that will depend on their physical fitness and endurance. However, this distance might decrease if they are carrying a heavy backpack, or stop often to look at nature.
Children at this age get bored easily, but they might be motivated to hike further if you choose a trail that appeals to them, or if you offer other creative incentives.
This is the ultimate read if you are new to hiking and want to know how far your 9-year-old child can hike. I shall answer the question and share some hiking rules for a 9-year-old.
Also, we shall share some ideas on how to make your kid hike further.
Hiking Guidelines For A 9-Year-Old
Naturally, every parent is concerned about their child’s safety on a hiking trail. Fortunately, there are many ways you can reduce the risks, including researching and understanding the trail properly.
Here are some important rules that will ensure your 9-year-old kid is safe if you all adhere to them.
Clearly Lay Out The Trail Rules
This one is for you as the parent, and it is the first and most essential hiking rule because it’s entirely about your child’s safety.
Take the time to remind your youngster of all of the rules that follow so that everyone is on the same page.
You must understand it before getting into the car and hitting the road. Here are the trail rules your kid needs to follow.
Kids can be mischievous, especially when in a different environment from home.
Since most trails are bushy, your child may want to play hide and seek, but that’s risky. They can easily get lost or hurt by wild animals.
Let your kids know that you expect them to stay in clear view at all times through the hike.
The temptation for a 9-year-old to run down the hill might be there, but it’s good to let them know that running is not allowed.
They should always stay together and frequently look back to ensure their parents are behind them.
Also, they should look in front and beneath their feet to avoid slipping and injuries.
Some hiking trails have poisonous plants, and therefore, it is advisable to warn your 9-year-old against touching any plant along the way.
Besides, some parks prohibit people from disturbing wildlife or plants and removing deadwood or archeological features.
Therefore teach your kid that they should leave everything the way they found it but can take a picture for memories.
Wear Proper Hiking Boots/Shoes
Regardless of where you are hiking, your entire group must wear the proper shoes for hiking. Your choice of shoes depends on the trail you will be using.
For instance, when hiking a rocky trail, wear closed shoes with an anti-slip sole.
Ensure the shoes are comfortable and they properly support your ankle. You don’t want your kid to go home with a sprained ankle.
Be Aware of Wildlife
Depending on where you are hiking, the type of dangerous wild animals you may encounter might vary. It could be venomous snakes, mountain lions, coyotes, or bears.
Therefore, it is wise to consult with a local guide or the local park management before starting your adventure. They should inform you what potentially dangerous animals you might encounter and how to behave.
Prevent and Watchout For Signs Of Dehydration And Hypothermia or Heat Stroke
Hypothermia is a condition where the body temperature drops, and it is a common risk to hikers, especially during winter.
One major sign of the condition in children is shivering, and you should act fast when you notice it in your child.
Nevertheless, this problem can be avoided by ensuring your kids wear proper hiking clothes like insulated and waterproof jackets to keep them warm and dry in cold weather.
The other issue you have to watch out for when hiking with kids is dehydration. This usually happens when the weather is hot, and you always need to be sure to carry enough water.
Encourage your kids to drink water regularly as they hike to stay hydrated.
How To Convince Your Kid To Hike Further
Your 9-year-old may not be doing anywhere near 6 miles anytime soon, but there are ways you can entice them to hike a bit further or at least have the strength to walk back to the car.
Here are some of the tips that might help.
Tell Stories As You Hike
Kids love stories, and you can take advantage of that and narrate some interesting ones to them when you notice they are tired.
Storytelling is a great way of motivating them, thus buying time and walking for some miles.
You will be amazed how willing they will be to continue once you start narrating to them about the kind of babies they were and the funny things they used to do.
Take Their Friends Along
The idea of going with your kid’s friends will be the magic that will push your kids to hike longer and faster.
They will enjoy the beauty of nature more when they have their friends than when they are only with you.
They will also be much less likely to complain about being tired with a peer along on the trail. No one wants to be the first quitter! This brings a great difference in the hiking experience.
Hike More Often
Hiking will build the endurance of your child and with time they may grow to like the idea of being out on the trails.
Nevertheless, you need to be careful about pushing them too much if they don’t want. You could end up with burnout or even making your kid hate the whole hiking idea.
If it’s the first time for your kid, start going to the park without a high expectation in terms of mileage.
This is another trick that will keep the spirit of your 9-year-old high. Promise that you will reward them after finishing the distance you agreed.
The reward could be anything you know they like. Maybe promise to take them out for lunch or buy them the latest PlayStation game.
Talk about the gift as you hike to keep them motivated.
If you’ve been wondering how far you can hike with your 9-year-old, they can comfortably cover a distance of 3-6 miles. Knowing their mileage is important for better planning of your hike.
You can also increase the hiking distance by bringing their friends, storytelling, offering rewards, or hiking regularly.