Camping with Children: Are We There Yet?
As parents we’ve all heard it – “Are we there yet?” And sometimes barely before we’ve reached the end of out street!
And no matter how well prepared you are, how many car games, books, iPads, smartphones, DVD players or other electronic devices you have on hand you will inevitably hear this phrase time and time again. And if we are being honest, we probably were guilty of the exact same thing with our parents, even if we didn’t have the latest game of Angry Birds on the latest iPhone to amuse us.
We recommend that as a family you sit down and set expectations about the trip and the length of time in the car before you actually leave. Show a map and explain the need to bring something along in the car to entertain, and explain that the journey is part of the fun. Make sure you explain that you’ll be stopping regularly for toilet or snack stops, and of course whilst it is never pleasant make sure you talk about speaking up if children are feeling unwell or car sick. It’s no fun for anyone, but an inevitability of any long road journey with young children.
Once you get to the camp site, it’s important that everyone pitches in (excuse the pun) to help setup the site, as often it might be at the end of a long day and it may be getting dark. It also teaches responsibility. Give them easy jobs such as by giving them easy tasks such as putting out chairs or tables. You want tasks that they can complete without too much effort and stress.
Books, colouring activities and card games are absolutely essential to make it through a week or more camping with children – especially if it rains! Other good stand-by items that don’t weigh much as Lego and jigsaw puzzles. If you have electronic devices that they are using. Eg. Nintendo DS, hope they are fully charged and whatever you do try to keep them away from sand, dirt or water – you don’t ant little Mary crying for a week because the iPad has been cooked! If not, we charge our devices from our portable battery. But make sure that these devices are only allowed on the proviso that they are for bad weather. We want our children to experience the great outdoors, not spend their time playing Angry Birds.
We also recommend you look at a solar charging option. And one very important piece of advice – electronic games, books or puzzles should really only be a last resort. Get outdoors, explore, talk, play games and simply enjoy nature and being a family. Family camping trips will create memories that last forever.