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Today we have a great guest post from Lucy Gomez, camp editor at Getcampingwild.com. I am so lucky to be able to bring this content to you, as this is something I have no experience with myself. She is sharing with us today, her 9 tips for camping with a toddler. I love this well thought out list of ideas!
9 Tips for Camping With a Toddler
For most new parents, the thought of camping with a toddler might seem incorrigible. However, if it is something that the both of you love doing, then you should definitely consider giving it a shot. Remember, the earlier you break them into your routine, the easier it will be for them to adapt when they are older. If you don’t try, you will never know. In fact, you might get comfortable with the thought that camping with tots is too hard.
So, without further ado, here are a couple of handy tips for spending quality time at a camping with your toddler:
Although you need to hope for the best, you know that campers always plan for the worst – especially with regards to the weather. As far as possible, drive to the campsite; the time for backpacking waved goodbye when your cute little baby joined the bandwagon.
Therefore, over-packing is totally okay – especially if it will mean that the child will be comfortable should the temperatures get a bit chilly once the sun sets. Think warm socks, heavy PJs, fleece jackets, rain gear, and long sleeves.
2. The Location
Ensure that you pick a camp location that is toddler friendly. Before you were a parent, your idea of the perfect campsite was anywhere as remote as humanly possible. Now, you are older and wiser. You also know that access to a bathroom will trump everything else – especially when the diaper has to be changed in the dead of night.
You should also choose a location that is a bit far from the main road, from a stream, and deep woods. All of these are extremely irresistible to toddlers in their exploratory phases. Since you certainly do not want to spend half a day looking for your baby, choose an appropriate location where you can keep your eye on your walking heart.
3. Prepare the Baby
First, talk out the plans with the toddler. Show them the tent you will also sleep in, as well as the sleeping bag they will be using. If possible, grab a book about children’s camping and read it out to your babe.
The next thing you might want to do is practice camping within the confines of the home environment. Set up the tent in your backyard and spend a night with them inside there so they get a feel of what it is like to sleep away from their bed. Similarly, in case the campsite you will be going to does not have a bathroom, show them how to dig a hole.
4. Be Prepared
You should also prepare yourself by bringing all the tools you are going to need. When the kids are so young, they won’t be much help in the campsite. Therefore, you might want to bring a Pack and Play. This way, you will get the time needed to focus on getting everything ready for the camping experience.
Another handy tool to pack is a kid carrier backpack. This will ensure that you always have your toddler with you. It will also enable you go on longer hikes and walks in the evening when your child is too exhausted to walk.
Last but not least, carry a first aid kit. At the camp for toddlers, your child might end up getting scrapes that require an urgent band aid. The kit will help with that.
5. Go Local
If this is the first time the entire family is trying camping with a toddler, your best bet would be to pick a venue that is close to home. If your child freaks out, there won’t be any difficulty hoping into the car and heading back home. In the same way, in case it rains and your bedding is soaked through, you have the option of driving back to your own warm dry beds.
The logic in choosing a campsite that is nearer to your home than one which is further is that should things go wrong, you have an easy alternative to fall back on – your own home. Once you have figured things out, you can venture further away.
6. Shade It
You should ensure that your tent is pitched in an area that is well shaded. Remember, your toddler is still new to the world – they certainly don’t need to be as exposed to the elements as you camp-a-holics are.
For naps, you should find a spot that will be cool without being too humid or hot. In case you pitch the tent in the morning, look at the sun and follow its path. This way, you will be able to discover the best place to put up the tent – which will come in handy during those afternoon nap times your tot loves. Remember, the comfort of your child will be key to the success of their debut camping trip.
7. Extra Shoes and Clothing
Irrespective of what you do, the toddler will easily be able to find a way to mess themselves up. Think: walk through a muddy lake, soiled clothing, and grassy patches on their knees.
The more the clothing you bring, the easier it will be for you. You can worry about cleaning everything up once you are back in your home turf. However, you do not want to have a dirty baby with you on a camping trip.
8. Recreate Home
As far as possible, ensure that your tot is at home even in the wild. You can achieve this feat by recreating their cribs/beds at home. Alternatively, carry their security objects along – whether this is a blanket or a stuffed animal.
Similarly, if they tend to sleep with certain objects, they won’t be able to without them. However, don’t go overboard. Just bring those items that you are sure your kids will need when sleep time comes.
9. Consider Night Waking
Chances are that your toddler will do fine on the trip. However, since they are likely to wake up in the dead of night, you should be prepared. Plan ahead of time how you are going to deal with these episodes when they do occur – carry some consolation of sorts that will help them get back to sleep.
So, there you have it – the best tips to ensure that you have great fun camping with your toddler. Use these tips to make the experience enjoyable not only for you, but also for that happy tot in your family.
She is Lucy Gomez, camp editor at Getcampingwild.com. She grew up in a suburb of Oklahoma and she has been camping my entire life. Camping in the wild is a way of life for her.
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