Plan. Communicate. Enjoy. These simple words can have a wonderful impact on family, in all environments. However, they must be shared in an open and playful manner. When parents share the importance of each of these activities prior to a hike, great lessons are brought to light. More importantly, if done correctly, a family can enjoy a beautiful hike while exploring and sharing their own family values.
Planning a Family Hike:
What goes into a plan? Before you take the first step, you must determine the direction you are going, as well as, how you want to get there. You must also create activities that assist in maintaining your desired path as negative distractions arise. To overcome negative distractions, it’s important to first create activities that connect with family values and keep the purpose of the journey in mind. This is where a plan comes in handy.
A plan provides a road-map. By sharing this road-map, those participating on the hike create the opportunity for the family to visualize their understanding of the activities they are about to embark on. Understanding these basic parts of a plan allows you and your family to navigate the first stage of a family outing, such as a hike.
Communicate for a Successful Hike:
Yes, we all do this every day – when we help our family get ready for their day. With routines such as, preparing breakfast for our family or sharing in morning prayers, we start a conversation that leads to sharing of your collective family’s experiences.
Take our morning breakfast example for instance – we remind our family that breakfast is an important part of their day, but we also ask what they want to eat for breakfast.
Why do we do this? What is the benefit of this exchange? As parents, we have the opportunity to provide a path for our children’s well-being. We are also responsible for helping them overcome distractions that may lead to impulsive decisions. How we choose to accomplish this is extremely important.
Developing Strong Communication:
Encouraging feedback from your children on what they may want for breakfast is a simple way for parents to connect with their children in a playful and safe environment, while also developing core values through routine decision-making. Let’s consider how this lesson applies to a family outing such as a hike. During the planning stages, you and your family should have figured out the basic parts of your hike, such as; where you are going, how long will the hike take, and what supplies are needed for the hike.
After the initial details are ironed out, it’s important to focus on the safety details of your family hike and to properly communicate with your child about safety when planning the hike. Here are some effective ways to communicate:
4 Steps in Effective Communication:
- First step – Ask your children. Why do they want to wear sandals on a hike? Giving a new question to your children offers the opportunity for them to personally explore their reason(s) on why sandals might be unsafe for the activities planned.
- Second Step – Provide additional information to your children. Providing more information to your children allows them the chance to connect the dots on the fact that there might not be any rocks to climb or water to swim in during your hike.
- Third Step – Continue the Conversation. Like your children did for you, take a moment to provide additional options for them to consider for the trip. This gesture is a wonderful way to further engage your child’s mind, with regards to making decisions. It also allows a parent a chance to gauge what types of things are important to their children.
- Last Step – Listen. As the parent, you are responsible for leading the hike and ensuring the highest level of safety and fun. To accomplish this, you not only have to keep to your plan, you also need to include things that your children want to do. Recognizing this and evaluating the decisions made by your children, via their feedback, lends a parent the greatest tool to a family – open communication!
Enjoying Your Family Hike:
Never forget the overall purpose of a family hike is to have FUN! By following the basic steps shared above, you will ensure that you are giving your family the ability to enjoy the decisions made together. Through this simple process, parents and children can apply their understanding of the importance of honesty in making good decisions.
Simply put, the use of these simple words – Plan, Communicate, Enjoy – gives parents and children alike the opportunity to share not only the values learned, but also to help each other continue to learn what makes a hike (or on a broader scale – life) fun through the equal input from each member of the family.
The only thing left to do is to take that first step together!