We’ve managed to successfully immerse our 4 kids into the camping scene without any major fallouts so we’re passing what we’ve learned on to you!
Here’s our top 3 tips on how to prepare kids for camping:
#1 Sleeping Bag Familiarity
Some kids are sprawlers when it comes to sleeping. They like to kick, roll, scrunch and dangle a leg or two out. And because a sleeping bag restricts your movement to a “mummy” size amount most kids go a little crazy when it means spending more than 8 hours in them. Start by having your child get familiar with their sleeping bag. Let them sleep in it on their bed at first with it unzipped. Then gradually zip it up over the period of a couple nights, until they’re comfortable sleeping with it zipped all the way up.
*for nursing moms of babies I would encourage co-sleeping in a two person sleeping bag like the Big Agnes Dream Island pictured below. You’ll save yourself a lot of discomfort. I still can remember sitting up in the middle of the night during a cold spring camping trip nursing one of our babies with nothing to lean against. I would have given anything for a 2 person bag that night.
*For those kids that just can’t get over the restriction of sleeping bags there are other options coming in the future from Kelty. They have a sleeping bag/blanket hybrid coming out this fall. There is also an optional sleeping system called a Selk’bag that has arms and legs integrated into it. They have super hero options as well so that’s a big perk when it comes to kids. Or try a camping quilt rather than a bag like this Big Agnes Down Comforter made with durable ripstop material. It will keep you from feeling like you’re being held hostage by your covers.
*Also parents, if you want to sleep with the peace of mind that your little one is warm enough be sure to check temperature ratings on their bags. A 40 degree bag will make a 20 degree night very uncomfortable.
#2 Tent Familiarity
Another confining and restrictive feeling your kids will have to overcome while camping is the tent. You’re in the GREAT outdoors, however it doesn’t feel so grand and spacious when you have a dome over your head and are sharing a tiny amount of square footage with several other people. Again get them familiar with the tent. Set your tent up indoors. Put their toys inside to play with. Pile blankets in there and make it cozy. Snuggle up and read some books in there or watch a movie together. If your tent doesn’t fit in your house you could get the same effect by building a blanket fort. After they’ve become familiar with the tent indoors set it up in your backyard. Have a backyard campout so they can get used to the sounds that accompany the night.
#3 Nighttime Routine, Favorite Item & Something That Glows
You can pick up any parenting magazine and read about the importance of a nighttime routine for kids. Use the same routine you have at home while camping. It’s amazing how comforting it can be to kids…jammies, brush teeth, read a book, snuggle in, nighty night. Also bring along a favorite blanky or stuffed animal. Our kids like to bring their pillow pets. And lastly give them something that glows that they can look to for comfort throughout the night. This has a special effect on kids. Here are a couple of items that glow that we’ve used in the past.
In the video below our boys, Cru and Axel, review our top 3 tips on how to get kids camping from the comfort of your own home.
There you have it in a nutshell. Try it out and let me know your thoughts or questions. Best of luck on getting those kids in your life outdoors all while managing a good night’s rest!
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