Hiking as a family is great! Walking, talking and discovering cool things with your kids is something special. It may also be the beginnings of a lifelong appreciation and interest in the outdoors for the children.
Planning is the key to a successful introduction to hiking for younger members of the family. Think about your route and ensure you have time to explore along the way, this breaks up the day for the kids and reminds us all that is about the journey not just the destination. Take the time to go for a swim, jump off a jetty, watch the wildlife or try and catch a fish for dinner. When there are long periods of walking, add some variety into it by everyone needing to do a funny dance over the bridges, rotating who is the leader and who can spot the most birds or wildlife. Snack breaks are a great tool for keeping children moving, set a time or destination until the next snack spot. Keep the rest and food breaks regular to keep their energy levels up. You will also need to add a few things to your first aid kit to account for the children - pamol, liquid antihistamine, lotion for bug bites and an Epipen if someone has severe allergies.
Hiking with another family can also be a great option as the children can have periods of time when they will entertain themselves and play games along the trails. It is a chance for the children to use their imagination to keep themselves entertained and no doubt form strong friendships with their walking mates. No doubt there will also be opportunities for the friends to try and resolve conflicts as they determine who's turn it is to be leader.
Empower your children when you are out hiking and teach them how to pitch their own tent, prepare a meal and how to use a pocket knife safely - the outdoors is a fantastic classroom.