Some of the most frequent objections I hear from parents when we talk about kids and the outdoors are “he is too young for that” and “there is no way my kid would put up with it!” Couple the objections with the horrible excuses that are so common in the parentosphere these days (“he is just TOOOOOO clingy to do anything”), and it is no wonder that the majority of American kids and parents are overweight and out of touch with the natural world around them.
Fear not, my friends! I have wonderful news for you:
- There is no such thing as too young (use your judgment here…obviously some products and situations are potentially dangerous if your child isn’t physically ready).
- Your precious little one is only clingy because YOU are allowing him to be.
- I GUARANTEE that your kid will “put up with it” if YOU approach the situation correctly.
- YOU are the one in control.
Our natural world is an AWESOME thing. Human beings are wired to spend their time in the great outdoors (Ever heard of Biophilia?), and once your kid (doesn’t matter how old) really gets a chance to experience nature, trust me – they will fall in love.
From the very beginning of his life, Baby Squatch has spent time outdoors. No matter where you fall on the political, religious or scientific spectrum, I, Sasquatch, have you covered. The night that Baby Squatch was conceived was the first night Mama Squatch had ever been backpacking. Whether it was the backcountry beer or the beautiful scenery, we may never know.
Very shortly after we first saw Baby Squatch’s little beating heart, we were making tracks on the black bear highway known as The Art Loeb Trail.
Once Mama Squatch and I finally snapped out of our “just had our first baby stupor”, we were outside pushing him around in the stroller, even though he was less than a month old and it was early March in the Midwest. We bundled him tight, and he was happy as a clam.
Due to the fact that half of Baby Squatch’s genetic makeup is from Sasquatch himself, we have been able to use some wonderful outdoor gear a little earlier than if he were 100% mere mortal. Before his 5 month birthday, we had Baby Squatch out in the wild in the single greatest invention ever to hit the outdoorsy parent scene – The Osprey Pogo.
If your baby isn’t able to sit up unsupported, then there is NO WAY they should be riding around on your back in one of these things – that is what front carriers are for! Once they can sit up, however, you really should look into getting a Poco or something similar if you plan on being outside a lot (which you will after spending time on this page). Backpack-style baby carriers are much more comfortable for yourself AND baby when you are wearing it for any extended period of time. No more sweaty shirt for you or soaked through outfit and diaper for them. You can also carry everything you need with you, and they allow you to go on more challenging trails. If you get one with a sunshade, that is even better! No more worrying (as much) about some super fragile skin getting burnt to a crisp in the mid-day sun.
I hate spending money, but these things are hard to come by at reasonably cheap prices on the second hand market. Don’t feel bad about splurging for a new one if you can’t find a good price on a used one. This is a possession that will last many years and provide untold amounts of joy for you and your little guy.
By the time Baby Squatch was nearing his 8 month birthday, we had him in our bike trailer. I spent quite a bit of time and thought making the decision to put him in there that early. I thought he was strong enough to handle some smooth bike trails, but even though he was big for his age and had very good control of his body, I would have probably waited for a few more months, unless I had an infant insert like Burley makes for their trailers. That being said, he absolutely LOVES his trailer now (14 months), and will sit in there enjoying himself mile after mile – which I feel is in large part to the fact that we got him used to it so early. This has really done wonders for my quest to live more of a non-motorized life.
My friends, the reason I tell you these things isn’t to brag or boast about how awesome the Sasquatch family is. I am simply trying to demonstrate to you that no matter how young your child is, YOU can take them exploring in the great outdoors. Remember that little ones are incredibly adaptable. As long as you are reasonably prepared, have some knowledge about where you are going and what you are doing, and use common sense, you and your baby WILL BE FINE. Remember – bad things happen indoors just like they do outdoors. The purpose of this website is to help you and your family along your natural discovery journey. As we go along, I will try to add useful content that will hopefully give you some ideas to get your kids enjoying nature and destroy your excuses as to why you don’t spend enough time outdoors!
If you are worried that it is too late in your child’s life to instill a love of nature – stop worrying. The best age to introduce your child to the natural world around them is the age they are at this moment! By introducing your child to the wonders of nature, you will build a better human and a better planet.
NOW GET OFF YOUR COMPUTER OR PHONE AND GET THE HELL OUTSIDE!