Today I am excited to bring you a guest post from Tadej Kozar from Camping Tent Lovers. It’s summer and many of our plans include camping with our families. We haven’t gone camping with our children yet, but, as Tadej suggests with tip #4 below you can do camping out in your backyard. We did something similar for our first camping experience and we did camping in our living room! We pitched the tent, played cards games, had lots of snacks and made smore’s! It was a fun adventure. If you’re planning on camping with your children this check out Tadej’s tips below and have fun making memories with your family.
Camping With Children
by Tadej Kozar
Last weekend I went camping with my best friend Lindsey, a single mother who I had always felt had everything under control. She brought along her children and I expected a fun women’s day out in nature with her kids in tow, but how the trip actually unfolded was a very different experience. We did our best, but looking back, we could have done much better. If I hadn’t had been blindsided, I could have been much calmer and coached Lindsey with some tips for the sticky situations we had.
For all of the Lindsey’s out there, here’s a guide on camping with children and how to plan out your trip beforehand for the best possible outcome with the least amount of stress and effort. But before I get started, I want to emphasize that it is all about planning planning planning. Knowing what to do beforehand will keep your stress low, and that calm and cool headedness is what’s going to get you through your trip with a positive attitude and the least amount of issues.
Tip 1: Prepare to keep your cool
Children are little parrots, always observing how to react and what to do and say based on their parents and other adults around them. For example, if they skin their knee, they’ll look to the nearest adult first, before crying, to see if they should cry, or how they should react. If you coddle, they cry. If you shrug, so do they.
Be your calmest, most stoic self in the face of this new environment and all of its new challenges and adventures. When something doesn’t work out, give it a calm shrug and find the next best alternative. You don’t need to treat the entire trip like it’s a gigantic school trip, pointing out what you did and why to every extra effort that you make, you can just be yourself, and that’s all they need to learn.
Plan to need time out to yourself to refocus and collect your zen. Bring along activities that help you get into that calm and peaceful place, such as a book or your music player.
Tip 2: Prepare to feed
Rumbling tummies aren’t exactly dynamite explosives, but they can sure seem like fuses! If the kids are hungry, they’re probably low on energy, too, which is what makes them cranky – because they are tired. Simply stop and refuel with plenty of healthy snacks that don’t contain too many preservatives, salts, or harsh chemicals, as these kinds of food will upset stomachs with all of the hard physical activity.
It’s a good idea to bring along different types of foods. You should bring along comfort foods that are familiar and homely. You should bring along snacks that are snacky, or that are nutritious, and you should bring along new meal ideas that are fun to cook at the campfire or portable grill or stove, such as smores or tin foil packet recipes.
Tip 3: Prepare to rest
Along with eating, resting comes naturally, and is needed for the body to process all of the new food. I prefer to bring along a lightweight and easy to assemble object that creates a new, partitioned space. You can use tarps to make a de-stressing room as one might build a privacy restroom area, for example. But I like to set up a small tent for the little ones to go and have a place where they feel safe, familiar, and can calm down.
Resting places work wonderfully as time-out units. They also work well as bargaining chips when you need to give your child a negative option over a choice they don’t like, such as “You can eat 3 bites of vegetables and then go play, or you can go in the time-out room for 3 minutes.”
Tip 4: It’s all fun and games!
You and your family are out here in the middle of nature to enjoy new experiences and thrills and the wide open scenic views, along with everything else that might be new, novel, and interesting. Don’t forget to capture that purpose and excitement, as it’s easy to lose and forget in all the hustle and bustle of doing things and preparing to do more things.
If you’d like to go low cost, there are many websites aimed at printable children’s wilderness activities, so you can cheaply and easily assemble your own child’s activity book to help keep them educated, engaged, and interested.
If you’d like to purchase more involved toys, there are many explorer kit styled games, tool belts, and gadgets, and sometimes even with your particular climate involved. Some other ideas might be rope, a pocket knife if the child is old enough, or binoculars. There are also many purchasable and highly portable activities such as card games, electronic board games, or miniaturized board games.
Tip 5: You don’t have to travel to go camping
It can be a lot of fun to go camping in your very own backyard. Although it doesn’t have the advantages of being out in nature, your children still get to experience how things work. If they’ve never been camping before, this can help them mentally adjust and be less fussy the next time that you go for real.
Camping in your own backyard has some other advantages, such as the ease of trying out equipment. You can identify which things work for you on a camping trip and which don’t, modifying your routine and learning new things. You can also identify any defective items and exchange them without any pressure.
Camping with children
Our children are not only a blessing, but they are our future. Camping is an excellent family skill that they will go on to teach their children, too. Once you have a routine down, things become a lot easier on everyone, and your children will know what to expect. Parents will have calmer, lower stress trips and have more room to think about experiences, and how to enrich the trip even further with new learning devices or activities.