Camping with Kids without Sacrificing Your Sanity

There is nothing like camping in the great outdoors to bring the family closer together, but camping with young kids can be a challenge to say the least.  Young children may have a different idea of camping than their parents, and without the right preparation that dream camping trip could quickly turn into a nightmare.

Fortunately there are some simple steps parents can take to make the most of their family camping trip and avoid the hassles that could otherwise sabotage the entire trip.  By following these simple tips parents can enjoy a wonderful camping experience with their kids and live to tell the tale.

Get the kids excited about the adventure.  Going on vacation is always an exciting adventure for kids – whether the destination is Walt Disney World or the local state park.  Starting a month or so before the planned camping trip parents should talk to the kids about their upcoming family adventure.  When talking about the trip be sure to accentuate the positive aspects, like all the wildlife the kids will see and all the fun things they will get to do.

Be sure to bring a few favorite items along for the journey.  Young children often cling to favorite items like stuffed animals or favorite toys, so make the camping trip more enjoyable by bringing those favorite items along for the ride.

Bring along some favorite foods for each member of the family.  While the older members of the family may be looking forward to authentic camp food cooked over an open fire, chances are the kids will be missing their favorite treats.  Why not make the trip easier and more fun by bringing some favorite foods along?  Just about every kid loves hot dogs, so why not enjoy a weenie roast by the campfire?  And of course every member of the family can enjoy homemade s’mores.

Try before you buy with a back yard campout.  Before you can hit the great outdoors you will need to make sure the tent, sleeping bag and other gear are in great shape.  Why not give both your gear and your kids a stress test with a fun campout in the back yard?  You can practice setting up the tent, and your kids can practice sleeping without their TV, computer and other electronic gadgets.

Don’t try to do it all in one day.  It is tempting to try to cram as much adventure as possible into every day of vacation, but that strategy can be counterproductive when the little ones are in tow.  It is important to take frequent rest breaks while hiking with the kids; these frequent breaks will help the kids recover and give you plenty of time to take pictures and enjoy quality time together as a family.

By using these simple tips you can make the most of a fun new pastime while making memories that will last a lifetime.  Camping is a great family tradition, and one that the whole family can enjoy.  From the youngest children to the oldest members of the family, everyone can enjoy a great new adventure in the great outdoors.  The key to maximizing the fun while minimizing the hassle is to be prepared for the unique challenges of camping with kids.