Camping With Kids: The Best Tips On Being Prepared
Camping trips can be a great way for the family to bond and get away from the stress of everyday life, and when you have kids, you know that’s necessary sometimes. Taking a trip of any kind with children, however, can add stress and anxiety to what should be a fun time, either because you feel the need to keep them entertained at all times or because you’re worrying about their health and safety. While camping can be a dangerous activity when you’re unprepared, there are many simple ways to plan for the trip that will keep everyone safe and happy.
The key is to start planning in advance, pack smart, and do some research well ahead of time on campsites, locations, weather forecasts, and driving conditions.
Here are some of the best tips on how to get started.
Do Some Research
Even if you’re an experienced camper, you’ll still want to do some research on the area you’ll be traveling to and find the best campsites. Knowing the rules of the land helps, too, so check online to find out more about the area, whether campfires are allowed, and what type of animals live there. Check the weather reports to make sure you won’t be rained out; if it’s going to be very hot, be sure to pack cool cotton clothing that can be layered if it gets chilly at night.
Camping with kids is fun, but there may be times when they’re bored, and that can cause tension and aggravation. There are plenty of activities for them to participate in, such as fishing, going on a nature walk to collect leaves and other interesting finds, snapping photos of the area for a photo book, and learning how to cook over an open fire. Bring along all the tools they’ll need for these activities to ensure they never say, “Mom, I’m bored!”
Get Things Ready
Well before the trip, make a packing list so you don’t forget anything. Besides weather-appropriate clothing and accessories, be sure to throw in a first aid kit with plenty of bandages, bug spray or bug-repelling bracelets (which are very handy for kids), sunblock, individual water bottles or canteens so everyone can stay hydrated, aspirin, and extra pairs of clean, dry socks for each member of the family.
It’s also a good idea to have some fun things on hand, such as the ingredients to make s’mores. Bring along some flashlights for a good scary story session around the campfire, as well.
If you’re bringing an RV along on the trip, take it in for an oil change and have the tires and wipers checked. Make sure everything is in good working order, and, if necessary, plan a dry run with the vehicle on terrain similar to what you’ll be driving on. If you don’t have much experience on the road with such a big vehicle, it’s best to be prepared for how it will handle.
Talk about Safety
Talk to the entire family about staying safe during the trip, including things like: not wandering off, not swimming unless an adult is there, not touching wild animals, and how to prevent a fire from getting out of control. Campfires are often needed for cooking, but everyone in the party should know how to stay safe around it and prevent it from spreading. Always use a rock barrier and keep a bucket of sand or water nearby in case of emergency; never leave the site until you’re sure the fire is completely out.
Taking a trip with family can be a daunting task, but try to stay patient and remember that it’s supposed to be a fun, relaxing time with your loved ones. Having a good plan in place and being prepared will help you have the best time possible.
Amanda Henderson is a mom to two wonderful, active boys and a preschool teacher. She enjoys writing in her free time, and recently decided to create Safechildren so that she would have a place to share her thoughts and favorite resources on parenting and child safety. Amanda is also a contributing writer for Jaden’s Voice.
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