Survival Tips For Camping With Kids Under 5

  • Family

Thinking about becoming a family that camps? Excellent! Camping with kids is a sure-fire way to introduce your children to nature and get back to basics. Just remember, camping with toddlers or under five-year-olds requires a bit more planning than tossing your swag in the back of the ute and setting off.

Here’s what you should know…

1. Embrace Dirt

Camping and toddlers – the two main ingredients in a dirt lover’s pie. Load up on inexpensive clothing from an OP shop. Comfort is key when it comes to living in a tent – soft, easy fit clothing that the kids can pull on and off by themselves will make camping with kids much easier. Pack extra so you’re not stretched between laundry loads.

2. Plan For Sun Protection

When you’re camping you’re bound to spend a lot of time outdoors – so pack a large bottle of SPF that you can use liberally. A few lightweight long-sleeve shirts that offer sun protection are useful as are full-brimmed hats. If you’re camping by the water, you’ll need rashies, rashies, rashies! Pack a few so you always have a dry one.

3. Stock Up Your First Aid Kit

A well-stocked first-aid kit will help if anyone hurts themselves. It should include Panadol (as well as the syringe or cup to administer the dose), bandaids, antiseptic cream, mosquito repellent, a thermometer and cleansing wipes. A few other handy tools: scissors, splinter probe or tweezers, an instant ice pack and some saline solution (to get the dirt out of eyes or clean wounds).

4. Know Your Signal

It’s nice to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a few days in the woods – what a great opportunity to play in nature. But for a matter of safety, it’s worthwhile noting whether or not you get mobile phone reception in your camping ground. If not, can you reach a phone quickly? You never know when your child might get sick or a spider bite happens. Being able to call an ambulance is essential for your safety.

5. Think about sleeping

When it comes to any parent’s sanity, it all hinges on how well the kids are sleeping. You should expect that kids will wake up earlier when they’re in a tent. There will be no blackout shades to block the sunrise and daytime napping might be tricky. If your child is still in a cot (and your tent is big enough), you may try and fit a port-a-cot inside the tent. If your child is out of a cot, a comfortable mattress is essential for a good nights’ sleep.

6. Plan Downtime

Camping with kids means swimming, bike riding, hiking, fishing or canoeing. To avoid overtired children, plan a little quiet time after lunch, even if your kids don’t nap. Toss a blanket in the shade under a tree and pack some activities you can do together – a puzzle, play-doh, reading books or colouring. Encourage a nap, if needed, by lying down with your child or taking them for a walk in the stroller if they won’t fall asleep in the tent on their own.

7. Take A Potty

If your child is only just toilet trained, you may find it useful to take a potty with you when you camp. This will save what can be endless trips to the communal toilet, especially in the middle of the night.

8. Bring Home Comforts

Small children love routine – so try to bring the routine things with you when you camp. Favourite blankies, teddies, dolls or books to read before bed will help your child wind down in the evenings. And, although we know camping isn’t about technology, an iPad loaded up with a few episodes of Peppa Pig or Fireman Sam might give you 30 sorely needed minutes of downtime in the middle of a rainy day.

9. Load Up On Lights

When it comes to camping with kids, a few small lantern-style lights will be endlessly entertaining and useful! Allow them to carry their own and explore around the campsite at dusk. Keep one inside the tent so you can read books at bedtime.

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