Jacob Hamblin Arch, Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.

10 Tips For Keeping Kids Happy and Safe Outdoors

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   11 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Some people might say my wife and I are bad parents. We’ve repeatedly and deliberately placed our kids—at young ages—in risky situations. And I’m not talking about letting them ride their bikes without wearing helmets (which, admittedly, would be insane) or frequently taking them to McDonald’s (and what kind of parent would do that?!).

I’m talking about setting out with seven- and four-year-old kids to cross-country ski through a snowstorm for hours to a backcountry yurt. Tying a six-year-old into a rope and letting him or her rock climb a cliff.

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11 Responses to 10 Tips For Keeping Kids Happy and Safe Outdoors

  1. Aarti   |  May 11, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    I read the title of the post and was planning to avoid it, but this is a very important subject that cannot be brushed off. Thank you for posting this.

  2. Alienrocket Copter   |  March 23, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Really a very informative post. It is very important to take kids outdoor for fun but at the same time there are few safety tips that should be kept in mind. This post is really helpful to know those safety points.

  3. John Ferrell   |  February 15, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I like that you said that we can monitor to be safe. While the outdoors are fun, safety should probably always come first. It might be a good idea to find out how to teach safety from a professional.

  4. Shelley   |  October 20, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Awesome post! So many great points that don’t get mentioned enough. All 5 of our kids have been coming up the backcountry with us since they were infants, but it has meant changes on our part to keep them safe and happy. It pays off in dividends as they get older.

  5. MamaTrek   |  July 29, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    We hike with our DD all the time, ever since she was 6 months. We do all of this, every hike, its so important. It’s great to see!

  6. Melissa   |  July 9, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Will you adopt me? I’ll bring my own food and promise not to whine. 🙂 I agree with sleep and food wholeheartedly. One thing to remember with young kids is they won’t always tell you what’s wrong. They tell you they’re nervous when they’re just hungry.

    • MichaelALanza   |  July 20, 2014 at 3:08 am

      Hi Melissa, thanks for the offer, but we find we have our hands full with two kids! I agree with your comment, too. I’ve always found that whenever kids are complaining about something, they’re usually just hungry.

  7. juicingkids   |  March 24, 2014 at 4:13 am

    Hi Michael,
    Love your posts. So incredibly true and such a post so incredibly needed in this world of insiders. Thank you. One other thing I would like to your list from experience is for adults to not forget to take a sense of humour on trips and for adults to also pack the child in them in their backpack.

    We just came back from a lovely long weekend on a lake with my husband and five year old. My son was really enjoying the break away, then he and I went wading in the lake and ended up having a mud fight. My son couldn’t stop telling me in between mud flings how much he loved camping. I think what he meant was ‘Mum, I love it when you come into my world and stop trying to make me go into yours”.

    • MichaelALanza   |  March 30, 2014 at 7:13 am

      Great comment and story, thanks for sharing that, and for your kind words.

  8. Traveler Ted   |  November 6, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Really, really important post you’ve got here and one that doesn’t get brought up nearly enough… Great parents (in the outdoors) are easy to spot but unfortunately those not thinking it through are far more common these days.

    I try to remind people that the most important thing is to ask. Many times kids just get dragged along but what works for someone in their 30s, 40s or 50s doesn’t carry to 10 the same way.

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