Over the years, I have met many moms who have major anxiety about camping with their young children simply because they don't know how they will do. As a first-time mom, I can sympathize. It may be a huge transition for some children, especially if you haven't travelled much during their young life. The first time will be a huge learning experience, but as you and your children continue with your adventures, everyone will begin to catch the rhythm of things! Nevertheless, here are a few tips to help you as you camp with young children!
Follow "leave no trace" principles
: Otherwise known as LNT principals, these seven outdoor rules keep you and the environment safe. The LNT standards make it possible for us humans to enjoy the environment with a smaller footprint! Read more about LNT principles here
. Plan activities
: Pack some fun toys and outdoor gear to keep you and your kids entertained
while at camp! Think frisbees, baseball and mits, fishing poles, cards, etc. Research and plan ahead
for any hiking or guided trips you may want to take. Make sure they are family friendly and age appropriate. Be flexible
: Remember that your exciting plans may not always pan out the way you expect. Nap times, hungry babies and overly tired toddlers will not always cooperate when you want them to. Take it slow and don't pack your days full. Schedule in down time for naps and relaxing. Be prepared for anything
: You will never regret over-packing the "just in case" items. So, bring extra and think of worst-case scenarios. Also, be sure you know how to set up and use all your equipment. You may arrive at your campsite in the dark (where you are unable to read directions) and you will need to know what you are doing (among other things). Have a Back-Up Plan
: If something happens (mid-July snow storm perhaps), and you can no longer camp outside with your family, be prepared with a plan B. Maybe you can still have a fun family adventure, but you can rent a hotel room for the night. Check out your location
to make sure you have a plan B that works for your budget!
Get too far out of your comfort zone
: It's always great to try something new, but be mindful of how far you are out of your comfort zone. If you aren't going to enjoy yourself, or if you find yourself legitimately fearful of what you are doing, then tone it down. Take a step back and consider different options that will be enjoyable for you and your family. Also, it's important to be honest with yourself and judge your skill sets accordingly. If you are not knowledgable, prepared or trained enough, stop what you are doing and come back to it at a later time when you are more capable. Pack only seasonal clothes
: Remember that snow storm in July scenario? Even if you have done pain-staking research and planned ahead, mother nature is in charge and changes her mind constantly. Be prepared for any in-climate weather. This also goes back to researching your location
extensively! Feel like you are bothering others
: If you and your family are camping at a family-friendly location, chances are, the other families will be just as noisy and rambunctious as yours! It's always respectful to limit loud disturbances, but sometimes you just can't help it (*insert toddler meltdown*)! So hush that mom guilt and roll with it. Let your kids be kids, and don't let any grumpy stare downs get you upset. Forget a first aid kit
: Lots of cuts and scrapes are sure to accompany you on your fun adventures, so don't forget your first aid kid! Bandaids go a long way out in nature!
Get out there and have a blast! Happy adventuring!
Written by Lindsay Helm