Camping With Your Toddler is a Beautiful Way to Bond For Life.
If you have long loved camping and hiking, why not introduce your infants to it too.
Your first instinct might be to recoil at the though of camping with a baby.
Sure, it will be more demanding than heading off on your own.
But family camping does not mean you must leave the toddlers at home.
I would not recommend very remote destinations, but there is no need to be ultra conservative either.
These days, modern vehicles will get you virtually anywhere, while still being able to stay in contact via your cell phones or Ipads and tablets.
Budget family camping tents are available in a range of configurations, and almost all are easy to set up, leaving you with plenty of time to keep an eye on junior.
Camping with infants takes preparation, but it’s rewarding.
There is no need to wait and go camping with the kids when they are older, they also can be challenging in other ways.
A little inconvenience can lead to a big pay off for you.
Setting out from home with infants to spend time in nature, offers you the opportunity for a special kind of bonding from the get go.
There is something magic about seeing their initial trepidation turn to wide-eyed wonder at the sights and sounds they encounter for the first time.
You might have become jaded or a bit blase about tent camping, but will almost certainly look at it with renewed enjoyment through the eyes of your children.
They will remind you of why you became an avid outdoors type in the first place.
Many westerners are reluctant to take vacations, whether they get paid leave entitlements or not.
They are often intimidated by peer pressure to keep working, lest they be seen as not sufficiently dedicated to their jobs.
Rest and recreation is essential for physical and mental stability.
Just as importantly, family harmony hinges on the parents being able to spend time with the children from infancy.
Even setting aside just one regular annual family camping trip gives everyone something to look forward to outside the daily grind.
Just ensure you understand what’s involved in toddler camping.
It will be tough at first for young first-time moms, especially if your youngster is only at the crawling stage.
They will get dirty and try the taste test on strange new objects. Be prepared, not afraid.
Very young children don’t take readily to change in their surroundings.
Be patient with them. Once they pick up on the fact that mom and dad are smiling and having a fun time, they will relax and enjoy the experience also.
There is a huge list of baby camping gear to make your out door life easier.
Simply click here to see some examples and prices.
Avoid being too adventurous in choosing your camping destination.
preferably pick somewhere accessible by car.
There are many well run camping grounds in scenic locations, without being too far from civilization.
try to ensure that your early outdoors adventure involves a relatively short drive.
Wherever you’re headed, get there long before dark.
Avoid having to scramble around, racing to set up camp before the sun sets.
Anxious toddlers will react to your stress and their crying will have you on edge.
If they start crying, and they will, it is much easier to pacify them if you are not busy putting up a tent or unpacking the car.
Choose a campground that has bathroom facilities and readily accessible drinking water.
Flushing toilets are highly recommended.
Tent camping provides a greater sense of adventure for children, but if this sounds like something for the “too hard basket”, you can always look for a camping ground that offers cabins.
Camping with a toddler or baby requires a good checklist.
Throw out the rule book when packing for camping with infants.
Normal advice of packing light does not apply here, and it’s prudent to make the most of the available storage in your car.
Image courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bpende/
You will need to be willing to bring a lot of extra gear when camping with a baby.
- Sufficient disposable diapers would be top of the list.
- Moist wipes will get plenty of use, especially for the crawlers.
- Buy economical clothing and leave the “Sunday best” at home.
- Denim jeans and overall style are most practical.
- Long sleeved tops are essential to guard against sun exposure.
- Long sleeves also help protect against poison ivy and insect bites.
- Extra is a word you will use a lot. Extra shoes, extra socks, extra tops, extra bottoms.
- Be prepared for rapid changes in weather and have a water resistant outfit available.
- Sweaters and gloves for warmth.
- Hat for sun protection, another for rain protection.
A camping first aid kit is a good idea for everyone.
A regular first aid outfit will come with most of the necessary bandages.
But you can add to a basic kit to cater for infants.
Be sure to include prescribed medications for existing conditions.
A digital thermometer is practical.
anti bacteria ointments for the inevitable abrasions and scratches.
A spray, or simple baking soda to relieve the discomfort of insect stings.
Extra insect repellent.
Don’t stint on the regular application of sunscreen.
Make sure your kit has a decent set of tweezers for removing splinters or bee stings.
Various sized bandaids are more than handy, even if just for psychological relief.
Bring some of the comforts of home.
Some toddlers will rebel when taken out of familiar surroundings.
- Pack some favorite playthings and comforting objects such as a teddy bear, or simply a treasured blanket.
- Special toys can be brought out of storage in the tent at night fall.
- These will distract infants from becoming to concerned about unfamiliar night noises.
- Ensure that the toys you bring are of the robust type, and not easily lost. Big is better.
- Favorite snacks and drinks are also recommended.
- Drinking vessels and food containers should be easily sealed to prevent spillage inside the tent.
- Try to restrict eating and drinking to outside the tent, around the campfire or under an annexe.
- Food left lying around inside could attract insects or other animals.
- It’s important to ensure your child is properly hydrated, so have drinking water on hand at all times.
- Go easy on the sugary sodas.
You can still enjoy hiking while camping with a baby.
With the right preparation, there is no need to be tied to the camping ground.
- There are well-designed backpacks and slings for carrying your toddler while exploring further afield.
- Your youngster might insist of walking, but this wont last.
- A carrying device will save you having to lug a tired child in your arms over rough terrain.
- When choosing a child carrier, look for those that have suffient safety straps to keep them from slipping out.
- At least one of the adults should be wearing an appropiate day pack containing diapers and change of clothes for the toddler.
- Let them get dirty, but be prepared for them getting wet by damp undergrowth or if caught out in a burst of rain.
- Have them wear a sunhat, preferably one with a flap at the back to protect the neck.
- A pair of baby sized sunglasses are more than a fashion accessory.
- remember, baby will be exposed to more sunglare while camping than is the norm at home.
Be prepared to adapt when going family camping.
Buy a suitable family camping tent and always go for the next size up.
If there are four of you, choose at least a 6 person tent. For six family members, choose either a 8 person or even 10 person tent.
With a toddler along, space will be at a premium, with all the extra gear you will bring along.
A spacious tent will allow you to spread a small tarp, or blanket, out of the way of the grown-ups, for baby to crawl on.
Nursing moms will appreciate a convenient corner for them to get comfortable with bub at feeding time.
Some tents, like the Big Agnes Flying Diamond, can be configured to provide an extra room which could contain the baby’s necessities.
An extra room could also be turned into a nursery for toddlers to sleep in.
The separate compartment would allow young ones to maintain a regular sleeping pattern, while remaining undisturbed by the movements of older family members.
A dedicated area in the tent could prove invaluable during the day if your child has a regular napping routine.
An overtired child will become irritable and you stress levels will rise. Always allow for nap time.
Taking a well behaved family dog camping would also help keep a toddler calm.
Keep baby warm and dry with clothes set aside just for sleeping.
Infants can perspire quite a bit during the day, and there may not be facilities for a quick bath or shower.
Their body temperature is not adjusted as readily as that of an adult.
Dedicated sleeping clothes will ensure baby is warm and dry at bedtime, when temperatures drop in the evening.
A good suggestion I was given, is to use a wool garment as a first layer against the skin.
Add clothing layers as needed, but be sure to check regularly to see if your toddler is warm enough.
Remember to show a little courtesy to your camping ground neighbors.
Pick up a few camping tips and tricks, if you are a beginner.
Introduce yoursleves and let it be known there is a baby on board.
A crying child can be annoying, especially if it’s not your own.
Let your fellow campers know you are considerate and they will cut you some slack when you venture out camping with a baby or toodler.
Filed under: Camping Guide
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