Young kids and camping: a recipe for sleep deprivation?

No, absolutely not! The key to success is to plan, plan, plan.

Before my husband and I had our little one, we thought one of her first trips would be to the great outdoors. What can be better than a snuggle in a cosy tent and waking up to chirping birds and fresh air? Fast forward to the weekend in question and panic ensued! We weren’t prepared for taking our tiny tot to the middle-of-nowhere and this was our biggest downfall.

Several (happy) camping trips later… we have a ton of tips to share to help you prepare for your first adventure.

  1. STAY CLOSE TO HOME: your first trip won’t be your last (hopefully!). So, make life easier and find your first camping spot within a couple of hours of home. It’ll make the car journey easier on everyone and it’ll ease your mind knowing that you can get back home quickly if needed.
  2. BRING STUFF: Gone are the days of vacaying with a tiny bag! Take a Pack ‘n Play if it’ll fit in your tent. Or, use a couple of camping mats for sleeping. Keep them low enough for safe rolling and high enough to avoid the chilly ground. To mute any outside noise, take your white noise machine with you if it’s battery operated. Or, use an app on your phone. And, don’t forget to take a head torch for those middle-of-the-night diaper changes. If you can take one with a dimmed light (to avoid a bright wake-up call), even better. And, to keep things familiar, take a favorite bedtime book or lovey.
  3. ACCEPTANCE: accept a slightly later bedtime than usual. It’s light outside until much later and no wishful thinking is going to get an infant to sleep at 7pm when it’s not dark. It may result in longer daytime naps (they’ll want to make up the lost hour or two at night somehow), but hey you’re only camping for a few days! After a couple of days of being back home, your little one should be right back on their usual schedule.

Remember that kids have been cared for outdoors for thousands of years. In many countries around the world, they still are. It’s proven that the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your little one is going to be – they take their cues from you. Kids are resilient and will come to love the great outdoors as much as you do, if you let them.

Happy camping folks!

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