Friday 3 June 2022

7 Tips for Stress Free Camping With Kids

Stress free, camping and kids are ore than likely three words you never thought you would hear in the same sentence right? But believe it or not there are ways to enjoy a stress free camping trip with the kids and embrace all of that outdoor adventure together. Over the last few years where travel has been restricted many people are realising just how many beautiful holiday spots, fantastic adventures and stunning coastlines we have right here in the UK. As a result of this (and people looking to save money too) UK camping holidays have become much more popular with families, but can you really enjoy a holiday under canvas, confined to a tent with the kids without the stress? Well keep reading below to find out...

The simple answer is yes, well yes as much as it can be. I mean if you don't have a little bicker putting the tent up, are you even human? But all jokes aside camping can be a great way to bring families together, to enjoy some stunning UK destinations as a reasonable cost and a week away from the stresses of work, school and technology can be just what everyone needs. 

Here are some tips to help you enjoy a stress free camping adventure with the kids. 

Choose your campsite wisely

So you've purchase the tent, air beds and camping chairs, but what next...? Picking where you stay of course and whilst this may seem like an obvious thing to say, it really is worth picking wisely when it comes to the campsite you stay in, especially if you have kids. As you begin to look you will realise that campsites really do vary in what they offer and picking the right one is key to a stress free holiday. 

If you are traveling with kids it can be advantageous to look for campsites aimed predominately at kids and families. These sites often have swimming pools, entertainment complexes, parks, amusements etc as well as more practical things like family bathrooms and staff who are geared at ensuring the kids have a great time. Whilst there are sites that don't have all these things that can be good for families, often smaller or quieter campsites can be aimed more at adults looking to relax and enjoy peace and quiet. The last thing you want is to spend your holiday worrying about your kids making too much noise or disrupting other campers. 

Ditch the bedtime routine  

Most people will be camping during summer time which is great for the beautiful sunshine and warm summer evenings, not so great for the late nights before the sun sets and super early sunrises where bedtimes are concerned however. You may have a great bedtime routine at home with the kids, but be prepared for that to perhaps not happen when you camp. 

Whilst you can buy darkened bedroom liners for the bedroom section of the tent, these can't block out the noise of other campers (or the seagulls!) and kids may find it hard to settle down to sleep and will almost definitely be up super early too. There is a little silver lining though, if you are busy during the day, all the adventures and late nights seem to catch up with the kids who seem to sleep in later and later as the days pass by. 

But trying to stick to a strict bedtime routine when you are camping is just going to cause you more stress than it is worth. Instead why not embrace the change in routine, tell bedtime stories together, watch the sun set together or go for a walk as the light fades. The kids will feel like its a great adventure and you will all sleep much better once the light has faded and the campsite faded. If you are camping on a family friendly site, most noise seems to have simmered right now by around 10pm at the latest. 

Take plenty of snacks 

As a parent you will already be more than well rehearsed in the importance of snacks at any outing. In fact, are you even a parent or grandparent if you don't carry an emergency stash of snacks in every bag, vehicle and pushchair you own? Jokes aside though, with limited cooking and storage facilities when camping, stocking up with some healthy (and some unhealthy) treats and snacks is a wise idea. Preferably you want snacks that won't melt (tents can get hot!), don't need to be cooked or chilled and are individually wrapped. Think of "grab and go" snacks as no doubt everyone will be more hungry after all the fresh air you get when camping. 

Oh and don't forget the marshmallows and digestives for smores, smores are practically a camping staple! 

Invest in a portable camping toilet 

The first time we camped we didn't take a toilet, we figured the toilet blocks would be close enough and left it at that. Now don't get me wrong, most of the time this was true and most good camp sites have multiple toilet/shower blocks so there is always one near by. However in the night time, even when the toilet seemed close in the day in can be such a pain in the night. Especially if your little one wakes needing the toilet at 3am and you both have to find shoes, unzip the tent, make your way to the toilet block in pjs in the dark and then get back to the tent and into bed again.

Taking a camping toilet meant we could use it for these "night time emergencies" without even needing to leave the tent. You can purchase these fairly cheap along with the chemicals you will need to use them. You should always check though that the campsite you are staying at allows disposal of such waste as there are a few who don't. 

Games, games, games

For us personally a family camping trip is all about spending time together, getting back to basics and enjoying each others company without the added distractions of work, school or technology. So we always make sure we bring plenty of "non electronic" games such as board games or outdoor games. It gives everyone something to do together and helps to pass the time, especially if you get stuck in the tent for a passing spot of rain or for when you retreat back to the tent on an evening. 

As I mentioned above classic boards, games, kids games, or outdoor games all count and are great fun for the whole family. You might even be surprised at how many games you can make up with a pack of cards or how long a game of UNO can really last. Just make sure that if you bring Monopoly you start it on the first day of your trip in the hopes it may be finished by the last day! 

If you do have access to the internet you could always try some classic card games but online such as solitaire or cribbage which is a modernised version of the historical game which involved grouping cards in combinations that gain points. Games like this online can be especially useful if you are playing alone as you can usually have the option to play against online opponents or a computer-based system. 

Bring scooters or bikes if you can

Lots of campsites will be set either within or nearby some beautiful areas to explore. Whether that be woodland, national trust sites, the coast or just stunning towns and countryside and the best way to take it all in (especially if you want to see lots of it) is on a bike. If you are the kids are proficient riders I would highly recommend taking your bikes as a quick, easy, convenient and cost effective way of getting around the local area. 

Another thing my kids always love to take when we go camping is their scooters. Often campsites can be spread across larger areas and a scooter than can fold up small is a great way for kids to get around the site without taking up too much room in the car. It will often be quicker, you won't have to listen to them moaning about walking everywhere and they are great fun too. 

Embrace nature (and the mess!)

Most importantly though, enjoy it. Try not to let anything get to you an embrace a slower pace of life. Try not to worry about the grassy knees and muddy toes that will inevitably happen. Embrace early wake up calls whilst the sky is still a dusky orange as the sun rises and watching the sun set and the moon become brighter in the darkening sky. Embrace the excitement in the kids faces as they stare up at the moon and really realise how big and bright it is, or watch their eyes widen as they take in the 100's of stars that fill the clear night sky, the kind of clearness you just can't get in the bustling city. Embrace the breeze, the sun and even the rain, the food cooked on a tiny skillet and the sound of laughter and togetherness that often lingers around a good family campsite. 

Will you be stressed at some point, even with the best of will, yes you probably will. But will you make memories that you will all treasure forever? Most definitely, so what are you waiting for, go enjoy a fantastic family camping trip this summer and hopefully these tips will keep it as stress free as possible!


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