We all love a good camping trip. Whether you prefer an exhilarating adventure into the wilderness and to be at one with nature or something a little more glamorous with plenty of facilities, there is nothing quite like pitching a tent and hunkering down for a night under the stars. Moreover, once your family begins to expand, you’re granted the opportunity to share these wonderful outdoor experiences with those you love the most. That said, camping with little ones can be challenging, so to guarantee a successful trip, here are some helpful tips.
While wild camping may be your idea of fun, it can prove tremendously challenging when children are thrown into the mix. Campsites with facilities including toilets, showers and phone charging points make for minimal disruption to family routines so that you can wash, change and continue with toddler toilet training in a clean, functional environment. Furthermore, many family campsites offer activities and entertainment to keep the little ones busy.
If your upcoming camping trip is your child’s first time sleeping in a tent, the experience may overwhelm or confuse them. To ensure a tantrum-free trip, it may be worth doing a tent-based trial run in the garden to test the waters and familiarise your little one with camping equipment. You might discover that they find the whole experience utterly thrilling so that you can look forward to your trip with a little less trepidation.
The occasional accident is likely to occur through all the excitement of the outdoors. Trips, bumps and scrapes are part and parcel of your typical outdoor escapade, so it is always advisable to pack a first aid kit to deal with any mishaps. Include a good supply of band-aids, antiseptic cream, antihistamines, insect spray and any medication your family members may require, such as Tylenol for mild cold/flu symptoms.
Vigorous outdoor activities can be profoundly draining, particularly for young children, and every parent knows that hunger-based irritability often leads to disaster. While you may not have constant access to a refrigerator full of your little one’s favourite snacks, a steady supply of healthy, filling snacks that travel well, such as crackers, fresh fruit, trail mix and energy bars, will keep them going between meals. Don’t forget graham crackers and marshmallows for making delicious, gooey s’mores.
Organising plenty of outdoor activities will create wonderfully memorable experiences for the whole family. Depending on your campsite of choice, you may have access to a swimming pool or lake - your youngest family members shouldn’t have to miss out, so make sure you invest in a good quality reusable swimming nappy. Older children might want to participate in age-appropriate campsite activities such as archery, kayaking, scavenger hunts and sports tournaments.
You may have established an efficient bedtime routine at home, but the excitement of your trip and unfamiliar surroundings will likely disrupt your child’s sleep schedule. That said, come the evening, they may have thoroughly worn themselves out. However, it is wise to be prepared for a difficult night. You might find it helpful to pack a white noise machine to drown out the noise of the surrounding campsite, as well as a comfort blanket from home to help soothe your little one to sleep.
A rainy camping trip can be a miserable experience for all involved, particularly young children looking forward to an outdoor adventure - nobody enjoys being cold and wet. While a bit of rain may not put a damper on your trip, a full-on downpour can be highly inconvenient, even dangerous. Continuously check the weather forecast in the days leading up to your departure date, and make alternate plans to quell disappointment should poor weather force you to cancel.
A roaring campfire is often considered a fundamental aspect of any camping trip. However, extra vigilance is required when young children are nearby. Follow the fire safety rules according to your campsite guidelines, always contain your fire within a ring or pit and keep a bucket of water close by. It also goes without saying that children should always be supervised once a fire is lit.