Camping with the whole family be an opportunity for memories, bonding, and passing down respect for the outdoors to the younger generation.
It can also be a nightmare. Every parent knows that even the most comfortable circumstances can be tricky with kids. When you're sleeping outside in an unfamiliar environment, all kinds of things can go wrong.
But tackling this challenge is totally worth it. Conquer your next family camping trip with these 7 tips.
Get your kids involved in the planning process
Involve the kids from the very start of the planning process to help build anticipation for the trip. If they've been a part of the planning, they'll be more invested in the experience once you get there.
Choose the campground wisely.
If you're bringing kids, you're probably not looking to venture deep into the backcountry. Research your campground to make sure there are clean bathrooms and drinking water available on site. Depending on your camping preferences, you might also look for a site that isn't too close to other sites. This will give everyone the freedom to run around without disturbing the neighbors.
Let them pack
Give the kids a packing list and a bag, and let them do the work. Kids will be thrilled by the freedom to choose their own outfits and decide what to bring.
When they’re done, it’s a good idea to make sure they remembered the necessities.
Delegate tasks ahead of time.
You don't want to surprise the kids with chores, as soon as you get to camp. Instead, build tasks into the experience, and make them seem fun. Help them understand that in order to have fun while camping, everyone has to do some work. Collecting firewood leads to s'mores, and clearing space for the tent means we get to see our big outdoor home!
Delegate the duties before you arrive. If the kids are prepared to help, they'll be more inclined to do so.
Establish camp rules.
It's easy for rules to be ignored when you're in the milddle of the woods. But running and yelling can create a stressful atmosphere for you and your campground neighbors. Avoid misbehavior by discussing campground rules in advance. Bring your kids to the board where general campground rules are displayed, so they understand that everyone must follow them -- even the adults.
Plan for campsite activities
It's easy to stay busy during the day, but kids can get antsy once you've returned to camp.
Bring along your family's favorite games to keep everyone occupied around the campfire. Or tell some spooky, kid-friendly stories.
Camping with kids can be a blast, when we're prepared. A successful camping trip can lead to many more, once everyone discovers how much fun it can be.