Family getaways provide timeless memories that you will cherish for years to come. Whether heading abroad to soak up the sun or keeping it close with a local staycation, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your time away together. Camping is a firm favourite for many and just one of the many ways that your family can get out and enjoy nature too. If you’re planning your next holiday and a camping trip is on the cards, have a read of our top tips for camping with kids that will keep you (and your kids) sane!
Practise at home
The best way to see if the real thing is right for your family is to ‘try before you buy’. What does this look like? Grab your tent, head into your garden, and let your kids have an adventure at home! Let them sleep in it, hang out in it and experience the tent for themselves. If you do this a few times before your trip, your little ones will be fully prepared and excited to camp out once more when you are on your holiday.
Plan (but be flexible!)
Researching your campsite is of vital importance, especially if you’re heading there with kids in tow. Make sure you pick a campsite with amenities that suit your family’s needs, be it washing areas for cleaning up dirty dishes or playgrounds for quick and easy entertainment. Think also about the activities you might want to do whilst you’re there. Having a solid plan of daily activities will help to bust the boredom and ensure your kiddies are tired out too. Keeping a flexible mindset alongside your plans will also be really helpful - unexpected incidents are never out of the question, so also be ready to go with the flow!
Make your car journey just as fun
Your holiday doesn’t just start when you set foot on the campsite. Find ways to make your car journey just as enjoyable as your stay. This will keep your kids from asking the classic “Are we there yet?” and will make the journey go much quicker. Be it 20 questions, I-Spy, or even recalling funny family memories, this entertainment can really improve your journey, so ensure you have plenty of games up your sleeve - particularly for lengthy journeys.
Organisation is everything
When it comes to kitting out your tent, there are many ways that you can make your temporary residence feel like home and organisation is the key. Packing your essentials - from kitchenware to toiletries - in clear categorised tubs will give you easy access and will help the family to know where everything is located (and where it should go back to!) Give everyone a bag with their own clothes in that they can be responsible for and a bag for dirty washing
Bring plenty of entertainment
Although the thought of your children being entertained for hours on end by the wonders of nature seems like heaven, your reality may end up being slightly different. For those inevitable moments, bring along other forms of entertainment such as games and crafty activities. A small second tent for your kids to do these in will keep your living area from becoming cluttered and dirty. It’s also an idea to have a movie or two on hand on a tablet or portable DVD player for any rainy nights, or for when you want a bit of parent time away from the kids.
Plan your meals before you go
Leaving your meal plan down to your nearest campsite supermarket can be risky business as they might not have all of the food you were hoping for - particularly if your kids have any allergies, intolerances or just aren't a fan of fruit and vegetables quite yet! Planning your meals and shopping in advance will save you a lot of stress after a busy day out and about. You can even go one step further and prepare your meals beforehand, keeping them in containers ready to warm up on your chosen evening. How to do this with kids? Make sure you’re packing food that they like - even get them to help you decide the menu. This will not only get them excited about the trip, but will hopefully keep any impending fussiness at bay.
Add special touches
You may feel like you already have enough to organise and don’t have mental capacity for any added extras. But making the effort to think of and create little touches will be worth it in the long run as it will help to create special memories. This might look like stringing solar powered fairy lights to light up your evenings, or bringing extra pillows and blankets to make your sleeping quarters extra cosy and fun. Whatever will delight your little ones, make the time to add it to your trip.
Get your kids involved
Although you might feel like you can get everything done quicker if you do it yourself, try to involve your kids in the campsite jobs as much as possible. From pitching the tent to cooking meals and even keeping the place tidy, letting your kids help out will provide them with some great life lessons as well as taking some of the load off you as parents. Try to slow down and chillout - show your kids that a family camping trip is something to get excited about and will give you positive memories to look back on for years to come.