Combination hikes and the art of compromise.
Combination hikes are a blend of kid paced or play and adult pace. It’s the art of compromise that allows everyone to be satisfied and have a great time.
Expecting the worst but finding magic instead.
We showed up to one of our most recent hikes, fully expecting to gently coax our one and three-year-olds to walk about a mile in two hours. That night had been a rough one and we were expecting meltdowns. The trail conditions were a bit icy so our youngest was for sure going up in a carrier. I was getting ready to explain to (argue with) our three year old why he “had” to walk. Then something magical happened. I realized he didn’t actually “have” to walk.
I think a lot of times as parents we feel that we have to prove something or that our children do. Forcing Graham to walk wouldn’t have proven anything and would make us both miserable. I know that Graham could have walked that 1 mile but I opted to carry him. The other family had a “need a carrier moment” as well. As a group, we quickly shifted focus. We opted to walk as an adult pace until the kids wanted to get out, then we’d switch back to a kid led hike.
We ended up walking two and a half miles. One kid caught a quick nap. Another just babbled happily the whole time. The adults talked and tried not to fall on our rear ends. Three-quarters of the way through the hike we came across a boardwalk and a frozen over pond. All the kids, feeling refreshed, got out and had a blast. We examined ice thickness, practiced pond walking, and tracking. The kids made snow angels and slid around the ice. I explained to my one-year-old that he wasn’t allowed to eat goose poop, even if it was frozen.
Success from flexibility.
This hike turned out to be an amazing success. It filled everyone’s needs (husbands, wives, friends, kiddos) and made us all feel great by the end of it. The lesson to be learned from this is simple: by being flexible I was able to get the exercise I needed and my kids were able to enjoy nature.