I love to hike. My son Spencer might tell you that he thinks it is “boring” because “it's not really exercise”…. that you are just “walking in the woods”…. but I beg to differ. For me it combines a great form of exercise- walking at a good pace coupled with the down and up of the hill climbs- with being out in nature. I could literally hike every single day of my life (if I had the time). And we are so fortunate because we live in an area of the country that offers so many beautiful nature preserves with hiking trails- that it would be a waste to not take advantage of it!
But what's a Mom to do when she wants to inspire her kids to share her love of a healthy activity? And they would rather sleep in?
Well- bribe them of course! (Err… I mean, offer them an incentive program!) And that's how our Sunday Morning Hiking Club was formed!
See- Steve and I like to get up early and hit the trails before they fill up with people. Plus- with kids sports and activities, we always have some sort of a family commitment on Sunday afternoons. But trying to convince the kiddos to be up and out the door by 7:30am was tough…. they needed the right reward. So we came up with the idea that for every 10 hikes they come along on, they earn a trip to their favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt shop, and can order any size they want and load on any toppings they want!
Needless to say- the next Sunday that rolled around after we announced our new hiking club “incentive plan”- we had four kids up and ready by 7am! And while they did spend part of that hike talking about what kind of ice cream they planned to order after they complete 10 hikes (salted caramel is the one I am dreaming about!), Steve also threw another “game” into the mix to keep them motivated along the trail…..
Each week he offers a “bounty” for different types of animals. For example, this weekend- the first person to spot a deer earned $1. Tree frogs are worth $2 to the first spotter, and if they were lucky enough to see a possum- it would have been worth $2!
Once we get home, we try to cook a big Sunday breakfast together… and make something that we don't have time to make during the week- like belgian waffles or made-to-order fruit pancakes.
And of course the kids insisted that we put a chart up on the wall in the kitchen so we can keep track of where everyone stands towards earning their goal!
How do you motivate your kids to participate in an activity that you love to do? Please leave a comment today and share your tips!