Parmi’s founders – sisters Michèle and Véronik Bastien – each have two little girls. And, of course, they’ve already instilled the love for the outdoors in the four children. Whether it be hiking or skiing, in winter or summer, the Bastien clan never misses an opportunity to reach new heights. How do these two moms find the motivation to venture out with four little ones? Here, they share their top tips for simplifying outdoor activities with children to create lasting memories.
The Younger, the Better
Starting your children off when they’re young means giving them all the tools they’ll need for a long-term active lifestyle. Although all four girls are still under 5 years old, Michèle and Véronik's daughters are already accustomed to going on outdoor adventures with their mothers. And the more they hit the slopes and the trails, the more they enjoy it.
“The outdoors is an integral part of our daily lives. We always wanted to share our passion with our daughters, and we believe we are giving them the opportunity to learn important societal and environmental values.”
The National Association for the Education of Young Children maintains that in addition to helping develop a healthy physical lifestyle and better sleep patterns, playing outdoors has several additional benefits for children, including:
-Encouraging social interaction and collaboration
-Creating new learning experiences
-Helping to better understand the world we live in
Let Them Set the Pace
When it comes to young children, it should be all about FUN. Not about performance and never about execution speed! Do the youngsters want to collect rocks or leaves? Would they like to sit down and eat a granola bar? Maybe have a drink of water or milk? Let them.
“Everything takes longer, no question. You must have the right mindset. Yes, the preparation can be difficult, and so can the journey at times, but you need to remember the satisfaction the children feel when they reach their goal. Their smiles are what keeps us going.”
Tantrums Will Not Ruin the Fun
Trust us: there will be tantrums. Even for the veterans, things can sometimes get a little out of control. In fact, Michèle and Véronik believe this is what can be most frustrating to parents. The key is to remain patient and take it step-by-step.
“Start with easier and shorter outings. Choose paths where you can easily turn back if necessary and don’t hesitate to take breaks.”
Layers Are Everything
Will you need a backpack? Yes. Will you have to stop often? No doubt. A family outing’s success largely depends upon your choice of clothing, especially in winter. The key for both children and adults: layering.
“Adults are often loaded down like mules and as a result can quickly break into a sweat. However, as soon as we stop for the kids, our bodies get cold. The best is to have breathable layers that can be taken on and off easily. As for children, since they don’t spend energy carrying equipment or shepherding the group, it’s better to bundle them up in an extra layer to ensure their comfort, even if they might be a little hot at first.”
Proper clothes and equipment make all the difference. Although being well-equipped can sometimes seem expensive, great options are available to break the pattern of overconsumption. Making sustainable choices starts with things as simple as opting for versatile clothing that can be used in several settings, shopping on Marketplace or second-hand stores, and asking friends who have older children if they have items that are stored in boxes and collecting dust!
The Journey (and Its Pit Stops) Matters More Than the Destination
An adventure in the great outdoors always comes with a great story to tell. "Where are we going?” “What will we do afterwards?” “Can we stop here?” Little ones enjoy having small goals or fun reasons to continue their journey. Plan for hot chocolate breaks, a stop at the beach while biking or an ice cream after a hike.
“Children aren’t trying to win some competition. They just enjoy spending time with us. It’s in these precious moments that the most beautiful memories take shape.”
Depending upon the season, here’s what the Bastien sisters always have in their backpack:
Hand warmers and foot warmers
Favourite snacks and sweets to boost energy when needed
Bottle of water
Thermos of hot chocolate
Cold cream (for sensitive cheeks)
Listen to Your Gut Feeling
"Are you sure it's not too cold?” “Isn’t it dangerous?” “Won’t the little ones get sick?” Whatever they say, make sure to listen to your instincts. Study after study has shown that during wintertime, indoor spaces are likely to be full of germs, while outdoor activities are linked to a multitude of health benefits. Children get essential vitamin D and a breath of fresh air when outside. If you’re comfortable going out with your youngsters, do it! Go on an adventure! Unplug, recharge, and savour every moment!
We’re willing to bet you’ll have plenty of great stories to share.
Inspired by a mission to simplify the outdoor experience, Parmi Lifewear ventures off the beaten paths to craft conscious premium lifewear essentials that adapt to everyday life and the unpredictability of nature. From the city to the mountains, rain or shine, our quest for quality and sustainability never ends so future generations can continue to thrive in the great outdoors. Take a look at our Limited Drop .01 for a preview of what to expect in the spring of 2023.