This past weekend was a first for us. It was the first time we went camping as a family of 3!
We did survive, and honestly it wasn’t as traumatic as I worried it would be. The weather initially looked awful, but it turned on us and we only got about 30 minutes of rain the entire weekend. The tent held up well, and we didn’t get wet. I call that a great weekend!
In typical fashion, I did a lot of prepping for the trip since it was the first time having my 15 month old overnight at a campground. I didn’t really know what to expect, and I was hoping to find the “magic key” to camping with a toddler. I have a background in research, so of course I took to researching some tips and tricks. Here are some things I took away from my findings, and a few tips of my own!
Stick to your schedule
Hands down, this was the most important part of the weekend. It was also the number one rule I found when prepping. It isn’t a secret that children thrive on routine, and going camping or going on a trip is no exception. The routine must continue! Getting enough sleep is the key to avoiding an overstimulated and cranky toddler, so naps are especially important. Try your best to replicate your exact routine from home, all the way down to reading books, taking a “bath” and singing. Granted, it might be a few minutes off because the neighbor might decide to go on a Harley ride right at 8pm when you were trying to get the little tyke to sleep, but you just have to work with it…
Go with friends
The truth is, we didn’t do this trip alone, and I am so thankful we didn’t. We went on a group trip with family and friends and it saved us a few times. It is so helpful to have a few extra eyes and hands when you’re trying to keep a toddler away from the fire or out of the poison ivy along the woods. Not saying that it isn’t possible to go alone as a family, but it does make it easier! Not to mention, you might have willing hands to take your kiddo to the playground while you take a 20 minute power nap 😉
It is better to be safe than sorry. I can’t even tell you how many outfits I brought for my kiddo because in the Midwest, you just don’t know what the weather is doing. We only used maybe 4 outfits the entire weekend, but at least we had options in case something was thrown at us. My husband always comments on how much I pack, but honestly, I’d rather over-pack than not have something I need! I also realized that you can’t have too many baby wipes handy. Not only do you use them for your kiddo, but everyone else realizes their magical powers too and they disappear rather quickly!
Just because as an adult, you enjoy sitting on your rear by the campfire reading a book the entire day doesn’t mean your toddler will enjoy the same. In fact, I can guarantee they won’t sit still on a chair for more than a few minutes (if that). You’ll have to pack a few things to keep them entertained so that you won’t have to the whole time! Bring toys that will be fun during the day and others that might be fun at night. We played with bubbles all weekend, and it never seemed to get old. If it rained, we had puzzles and instruments he could play with inside of the tent. But I will say, it seemed he had the most fun walking the trails and playing on the playground. I might not bring as many toys from home next time!
That might sound silly, but I think it deserves a reminder! As a mom, I often find myself stressing over my child and forget to relax. Especially being outdoors, away from home, it is easy to focus too much on your child. Just remember to sit back and enjoy the experience because after all, we don’t go camping to add more worry into our lives! Camping is there to take it away!
Do you have any tips or tricks for camping with little ones? I’d love to hear them! Please share below