Camping can be stressful even when things are going according to plan. But add kids to the equation, and you’ve got yourself a little bit of a recipe for potential disaster, at the very least a whole lot of stress. That being said, camping trips with the family can be a great way to bond together and make the most of the school breaks. So, a balance needs to be struck for being able to take the vacation you want whilst managing the difficulty of all the family coming along and the chaos that that can involve. So, here are 11 ideas for how to do that!
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, as the old saying goes. Well it’s absolutely true here. Plan everything from the location to the number of water bottles you need. When you’re at the mercy of the elements anything can happen, so plan for the unexpected.
“There are so many different things that can go wrong while on a camping trip, not just to the kids but to you as well, from cuts and bruises to stings and bites”, warns Elizabeth Renshaw, travel writer at AustralianReviewer. Bring a first aid kit: it’s the outdoors and it’s kids, something will go wrong.
It doesn’t matter what’s forecast, or what you have a hunch it’ll be like, pack a diverse range of clothes. Over heating or being too cold can both be seriously problematic for campers, especially children, and can lead to actual health issues.
Leave a couple of smartphones and a charging cell in the car, but otherwise embrace the outdoors fully- and get the kids to do the same. Search them before they get into the car if you have to!
Scrabbling around with the flashlight and the tent pegs after dark is frustrating and can be dangerous. Plus, it won’t instill much faith in your kids if it’s the first thing they witness you handling. So, arrive early and give yourself tie to unpack.
If it’s your first time camping with kids, then maybe do a few practices before committing. Do an outdoors-y day trip, or practice pitching the tent in the back yard. Jumping in the deep end with the real deal can lead to disaster.
Having bored children sitting around complaining is likely if you don’t bring activities, especially in this day and age. Pack balls, books, card games, magnifying glasses and binoculars. Anything that will entertain in the quieter moments.
Lamps, lighter-powered torches, glow sticks, headlamps, wind-up torches and basic flashlights are all great ideas for lighting your campsite. It’s really important that the kids don’t feel terrified of the darkness but also that you have ways of seeing one another in the middle of the night.
Camping when you’ve brought along everything from your whole sock draw to the spice cabinet starts to feel a bit like you’ve just moved to a new house. Retain a bit of the atmosphere of excitement and improvisation by leaving behind more than you might instinctively want to.
Planning exotic meals, or even worse, trying to survive off what you catch, is begging for problems. Make sure that you bring food that is easy to cook or doesn’t need cooking at all. Food safety is much harder to handle when you’re camping, so stay on the safe side with some easy options.
If you don’t, the kids won’t. It’s as simple as that. If it’s feeling all a bit too stressful, then adapt the plan to make it easier. Fun is better than being a puritan about it all.
It is possible to take the kids camping and not induce a nightmarish weekend of complaining and wasp stings. It requires planning and it requires a bit of commitment, but, done right, it can make for a great family memory.
Grace Carter is a travel writer and blogger at Revieweal and UK Writing services reviews websites. She enjoys traveling with her kids, the planning of a road trip and hiking. Grace teaches business writing at State Of Writing service.