SALT LAKE CITY — Sleeping in a tent, roasting marshmallows and playing in the dirt is the perfect trip for many children. Camping allows children to experience nature, get away from electronics and other distractions and breathe in some fresh air. However as a parent, camping with children can seem a little scary.
Upset children can keep nearby campers up during the night, bathroom trips can become more difficult and forgetting important equipment, food or toys can be detrimental to your entire trip. With a little ingenuity and taking time to prepare properly, you can make your camping trip a success, no matter how young your kids may be.
Here are a few ideas that can help you keep your sanity and help your children maintain a happy demeanor as well.
Keep glow sticks on each child at night
Camping with little ones can be scary at night, especially if your child likes to run and explore. Children can easily venture too far and in the dark, they may lose their bearings or you may lose sight of them as well.
As it begins to get dark each night, put glow sticks around your child’s neck and wrist or tie one on your child’s shoe. This allows you to quickly and easily see exactly where your child may be and eliminates the need for them to constantly stay right next to you all night.
Be willing to go for drives
When a child isn’t in their own beds, especially if they are sleeping on the ground, falling to sleep can be a challenge. Unfortunately, letting your child cry himself to sleep may not be a solution if other campers are nearby. If your child has a difficult time sleeping, be willing to take them for a drive until they fall asleep. This little tip makes it much easier to transfer them from their car seat to the sleeping bag without upsetting nearby campers.
Give your children plenty of light
One easy and very simple way to provide a night light for a child is to place a headlamp around a gallon milk jug filled with water. This is an easy and cheap way to create a lantern for your camp and you don’t have to worry about it being broken with a rambunctious child.
Use two tents
Even though setting up two tents may seem like a lot of work, it can save you a lot of mess and frustration throughout the trip. Designate one tent to be only for sleeping and changing clothes. The other tent then becomes only for toys and playing.
The toy tent is where you can keep any trucks or sand toys you may have brought along. It can also be where the kids can run in and out of without worrying about always taking on and off their shoes.
Don’t be afraid to overpack
When camping with children, you can never have too much. Children get bored easily, may get hurt, may not want to eat, or have a sudden increase in appetite. It is always much safer to be prepared than wishing your camping trip was over.
Camping can be a wonderful time to bring your family together and strengthen relationships, especially if each family member puts away all distractions. If you have children and want to enjoy this time together, plan carefully and use some of the above tips to make the trip a little more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Courtnie Erickson is a Utah State University graduate and a technology guru.