Camping with children, the good, the bad and the ugly!I have two children, now aged 5 and 8, and we first attempted camping when the eldest was just 9 months old. I bought a special camping travel cot and we get her used to taking naps in it a for a few weeks before we went. Unfortunately, once we got to the campsite trying to get her to go to sleep in daylight (tents are very see-through) and with a lot of noise going on around. In the end we gave up and had to take Bethany home.
Not one to give up, we tried again when Bethany was around 2 years old. That went much better! We had changed to a tent which had a blackout lined, it was "dark" but it was "dark enough" and although she struggled to settle initially we all had a reasonable nights sleep.
We have since taken Bethany camping every year and started taking Jack when he was about 2 years old as well. I love camping with the kids; the fresh air tires them out and they really enjoy running around.
Food has always been a bit of an issue with my children, they are fussy little monkeys. We now take a gas powered kitchen hob with us so we can make pasta and cook some vegetables, we also take little packets of cocktail sausages (apparently freshly cooked ones just are good enough).
Children's safety on the camp site can be a bit tricky, when they are small they can easily wander off and cars don't necessarily stick to roads around a campsite so can surprise children who aren't paying full attention. In order to get around this we position the cars and tents so they form a square around our site and used wind breakers to block off any more gaps. We also ensure we assign one child to each of us, it can be very easy to assume someone else is watching the toddler and for them to wander off.
I love camping with the kids, it is so lovely for them to be out in the wild a bit. But don't be afraid to cheat a little: take ready meals with you, put a potty in the tent for night time toilet visits (even once the kids are older), take iPads with you (great for entertaining the kids for an hour when they are tired) and don't worry if it doesn't work out for you the first time, give it a year and try again.
Camping with children can be hard work, but I think it's worth it! Take the kids back to nature, it's good for their health and good for their education.
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