Tent camping with kids? Well, it may seem challenging at first. Do many parents fear what if they don’t sleep or get bored? Although these are genuine concerns, planning your trip wisely can make the camping adventure with your kids a lasting memory. Here is a set of tips to make camping comfortable for kids.
Have reasonable expectations
Before heading out, you should be prepared that no matter how much you plan your trip, it may not go as planned. Many things can happen that you never dream of, like a leaky tent, a late-night trip with your kid to the bathroom, or muddy hands or faces. These unexpected things can test your nerves. It would be best to relax your mind and welcome little bumps because this mindset will help you efficiently deal with them.
Practice tent camping at home
If this is your first time taking the kids camping, the biggest piece of advice that I can give you is to practice it beforehand. One of the best ideas is to pitch a tent inside your home or backyard. Let them explore and hang out in it. You can also let them sleep in it for a night to experience this new sleeping environment. You can also try a one-day outing at a nearby park. Let them spend half a day near a lake shore, observe how your kids react, and take notes.
Have those snacks ready to go
When kids are hungry, they get very cranky. Camping is not complete until you have cooked something on the campfire, but it takes a long time to prepare. So pack as many snacks as you can. While planning the menu for dinner and lunch, don’t forget to ask your kids what they want. Let them get involved so that they can feel important and excited. You can introduce your kids to camping traditions of cooking hot dogs or roasting marshmallows over the campfire. These activities will create lasting memories.
For a peaceful sleep under the stars
One of the biggest concerns of camping with kids is how to put them to sleep in a tent. To make sure that they sleep soundly and enjoy a comfortable sleep in a tent, you have to keep in mind the following few tips:
- First, it is essential to provide them with a nice and cozy sleeping place. Suppose it’s going to get cold at night place an extra blanket over and under the sleeping bags. For babies, you can use a sleeping bag to keep them safe and warm during the night.
- If your kids are not okay with sleeping on the ground, you can use roof-top tent for them. Let teenagers have their own tent to enjoy some privacy.
- Since there is a lot to explore out in the wilderness, take advantage of that and let them wear out. Be flexible and don’t expect the children to follow the same bed routine. You may observe that toddlers and teenagers may not even sleep during the day, but this will make them tired, and they will sleep early at night.
Finding a child-friendly camping site
Even before you think about the essential gear, picking an appropriate site for camping with kids is important. You will want to choose a site with a bucket full of amenities if this is your first or second time camping with kids. Make sure that the camping site is close to the washroom. If your kids get uncontrollable near a beach or a creek, choose a site a little away from the water bodies. Sometimes campgrounds get very crowded, and with sites close to each other, it becomes impossible to control your children or put them to sleep. In this case, seek out a camping site that is a little isolated from the rest of the crowd or book two sites adjacent to each other so that you can have enough of your private space.
Keep them kiddos busy
Let’s face it when kids get an open space all to themselves; there will be fighting, running around, and smashing things. To avoid these circumstances, plan and assign different tasks to your kids according to their ability and age. You can ask the little ones to fill water bottles or gather kindlings. The oldest kids can help set up a tent, wash dishes or prepare food. It will not only lend you a helping hand in the chores but also help them feel excitement and accomplishment.
Camping gear essentials with kids is much different than camping alone or with adults. To make them happy during the camping you have to pack a lot of stuff that entertains them, or they like. For example, if your kids have their favorite toys, you can pack them along so that they can play with them or sleep with them comfortably during the night. Moreover, you should also pack some colorful books, painting material, and other easy-to-play game accessories that can keep them engaged and entertained.
While packing clothes, let the children decide what they want to wear. If they choose a top or a hat to bring along, let them do it. But don’t forget to pack extra according to the weather. It would be wise to pack clothes that you can layer.
Communicate with them
One of the biggest mistakes parents make during camping is that they become very busy with chores and forget about family bonding. Plan your camping trip in such a way that you get downtime with your child. Ask them about their school, life, and what they like or dislike? Camping gives you a precious time to bond with your kids and get to know them in a way you have never been able to. Listen to their school stories and their proud moments. You can also teach them many things like respecting wildlife and the environment and the leave no trace principle etc.
Explore nature with your kids
Another valuable way to make kids comfortable during camping is to take them to explore wildlife and nature. Together you can examine rocks, bugs, wildlife, plants, flowers, birds, and constellations. If they show interest in stones or anything else, observe them and show your keen interest in that thing. They may ask you to identify an animal or a plant, so you can bring a field guidebook to identify the native animals and plants.
Camping with kids can be as fun as without kids, so panic is not needed. All you need to do is plan the camping trip considering the needs of your kids. Once they get comfortable on the campsite, you can easily enjoy the rest of your trip. Try to keep them hydrated, fed, warm, and dry. Engage them in different activities so that they don’t get bored.
Another pro tip is that you will not be able to create a perfect camping experience with kids the first, second, or even third time out. At the end of each trip, take notes and don’t forget to enjoy.