It is 7.34am as I am writing this – I’m still on camp time, where you wake up with the sun. (Or at least my kids still are, so I’m up too.)
In a pre-camping post I did nothing to hide the fact that I had some fears relating to how camping with young kids would go. I needn’t have worried. Despite a terror of a first night, the rest of the time was relatively smooth sailing.
Here are some things I learnt/ found helpful if you also are about to embark on a first camping with pre-schoolers adventure:
* If you get a chance go with experienced and helpful family or friends. (Grandparents are awesome!)
We went with my Dad (Poppa) and Step Mother (Granny Lynn) and apart from the fact that they had all the mod cons we didn’t, they were just so helpful with the kids. They both took turns of walking Isabelle (the normally wonderful sleeper, but who had decided her portacot was evil) to sleep each night in her buggy. Lynn helped with a lot of nappy and clothing changes and Dad was up at the crack of dawn with me every morning making my coffee and getting the kids breakfast.
Not to mention how much they played with the kids, enabling me to have a break.
* Make it as easy for yourself as possible
We did this 3 ways.
1) Took as much help with the kids as offered – as above
2) Camped not too far away from home (about 30-40mins drive), meaning if the weather had turned to custard/ someone got sick we could home in no time.
3) Camped a camping ground with kitchen and washing facilities (and took advantage of Dad and Lynn’s camp fridge etc.)
* Like anything new, it will likely take a day or two for the kids to fall into routine.
But be patient it will happen. As mentioned before I had a terror first night, but after that the sleeping got much better.
We had two tables and them for different meals, Noah worked this out pretty quickly and was initially quite perturbed the night we broke with routine and ate fish and chips away from the campsite.
Both kids also seemed to work the bounds of ‘our area’ around the camp and generally didn’t wander too far away – Although, Noah being a bit of a social butterfly kept going over to visit the neighbours. (This worked out well though because the guy worked for a fruit company gave us heaps of juicy nectarines and plums!
eating some of the fruit in the bath (aka dishes bucket)
* Don’t expect it to be like when you camped as a teenager/ or before you had kids, (when your biggest stress was putting up the tent and your main goal was to get an awesome tan.)
So you’ll be busier, but that’s just part of having kids isn’t it? Actually, I found camping with kids really fun (stressful at times – especially when trying to get a runaway toddler out of a super hot tent to dress him); but fun for the most part.
It’s just so neat to see the whole experience through their eyes. It’s also worth remembering that you’re helping create memories. I have so many great memories of my childhood camping holidays.
* Make sure you pack some rough clothes for the kids – and if you do have some nice ones make sure you pack the sunlight soap (or equivalent stain remover.)
While I didn’t pack the kids best clothes, in retrospect a few more rough ones wouldn’t have gone amiss. A few messy icecreams later and I was feeling very pleased that I’d packed my trusty sunlight soap.
I’m sure there are many other tips which haven’t occurred to me (and please share yours here too), but for now – I will leave you with the many faces of Noah…