My husband and I love camping and used to do a lot of it before we had kids. I think we felt a little insecure about bringing little ones into the wild and sleeping outdoors. I know it sounds silly because camping with kids is great family fun, and they love sleeping under the stars and exploring the campsite.
I think that kids who go camping develop a strong connection with nature that will create a desire to protect it. When your camping trip includes young children, some extra planning and precautions are needed. By being well prepared, the trip will be more fun and memorable. I think the very first thing we teach our kids is to always leave the campground in better condition that we found it. A good way to see if your child is ready for a night in a tent is either by finding a local camp ground or by doing what we did — we camped out in our own backyard. This way, if there are fears or tears as darkness approaches, you have the option to go inside.
Here are some tips to help you start thinking ahead about camping with children:
• Teach young children to stay within eyesight. It’s so easy for little kids to get caught up in the moment of exploring the nature and suddenly get lost.
• Teach children to stay where they are if they discover they are lost. Instruct them to find a nearby tree and stay with it until they are found.
• Dress children in layers that are easy to remove if they get hot or add when it gets cold. Also make sure they wear comfortable, waterproof shoes.
• Provide each child with his/her own flashlight to prevent any fights over them.
• Bring along a game you all like to play at home. Playing it outdoors with a lantern or flashlights will add to the fun.
• If you are camping on a grassy area, pick a spot that has not just been used in order to give the grass a break.
• Use assigned fire pits, as they have been built to protect nature.
• Check out the firewood rules of the campground and use only the kind allowed in order to prevent the spread of unwanted insects and diseases.
• Always bring home all garbage and trash or find a trash can and recycling station at the campground.
• Make sure to use only nontoxic soaps, dishwashing soap, etc., because everything will go into nature.
• Most important, have fun and let your kids explore, climb and enjoy being one with Mother Nature.