Kids belong outside. A little bit of nature can go a long ways in hitting a child's "reset" button. However when not planned through, things can turn from 'making memories' to an episode of survivor faster than you can say, "I thought you had the snacks bag!".
1.) Snacks on snacks on snacks.
I'm so serious about this one guys. Have you seen a hungry 3 year old? Have you ever had to carry a devastated snackless 3 year old down hill? Never skimp on food. After our latest beautiful hiking adventure I asked my son," what was your favorite part of our trip hun?". "The trail mix.''
(Also water. Snacks on snacks with water)
2.) Lower your expectations.
If you can manage to hike to the very top of the hill you had planned with a 2 year old hopping along to then have a nice peaceful moment at the top, more power to you. That's wonderful. But if you only make it half way before your little mini me decides to call it quits guess what? You still took your family on a wonderful outdoors trip. Letting go of your stress and expectations allows room for you to see the happy in even the most ridiculous of parenting moments.
3.) Plan ahead.
Scope out reviews, trails, and any potential closures. And the second hand of this is make sure to take any maps available and take pictures of any posters with maps and other important information. One hike had a list of poisonous plants to keep an eye for. Half way through I was wishing we had snapped a picture of that board because I kept second guessing myself!
4.) Safety First.
I don't know about your kiddos, but if they get scrapped and don't get a band aid, it is an abomination. I always keep a mini first aid kit in my purse and a bigger one in my car. Don't forget first aid kits, inhalers, epi pens and anything else you may need along the way. And general hiking rules says always tell someone where you will be hiking, and when you are expecting to be back. Even smaller trails, it's just good sense.
5.) Bring a friend.
Our kids are still little enough to get enough enjoyment from just having mom and dad time. (Although I can feel that coming to an end!) If your kids are a little older, sometimes bringing a friend along can turn the grumpiest of preteens into a happy camper.
I hope this list was helpful to you and you have a wonderful time getting outdoors with those you love most!