We all remember camping as kids, right?
The recipe was easy. Take one crackling campfire – add some flashlights, a couple woodticks, and finish it off with some sticky s’mores, and you have childhood memories that last a lifetime. Now that we’re parents, I’ve found that trying to replicate those memories with younger twins is a most interesting challenge. After recently having had minimal success trying to recreate the magic, I’m left with 5 pieces of advice to pass on to you if planning a camping trip is on your to-do list!
1 – Know your element.
Before you even leave the house, know the weather, directions, if the area will have cell signal, and any pertinent flora/fauna issues. That whole flora/fauna thing will depend on where you are camping, but knowing what plants, mammals, and reptiles to watch for will greatly improve any visit to the great outdoors. Many times you can call ahead and ask the campsite personnel about this.
2 – Know those children!
I have two eyes, that are often required to watch three children. You know that before I arrive at a new destination I’m going to set expectations and boundaries. I expect all parents know how their children handle a break in routine, and the excitement of something new. But keep that in mind prior to arriving, and know how you are going to handle it.
3 – Be flexible.
In my family, you haven’t “arrived” at a camp site until the tent is up. Unfortunately, I have twins with an older brother that haven’t “arrived” until they’ve gotten the energy from a two hour drive out. Going for a walk around the campsite is a great way to both help get this energy out, and get to know the area. If you have kids even remotely as wild as mine, training them to hold a hand (and not run off) should most certainly be a pre-trip exercise.
4 – Don’t expect the perfect trip.
We ended up with an air mattress that sprung a leak, probably as a result of the kids insisting that jumping on a mattress wasn’t technically jumping on the bed (and as such should be a permissible activity, especially since screen time was out of the question; given the lack of cellular service). Camping is as much improvising, and making due, as it is being prepared. Insofar as you are able to “Tim Gunn” it, nobody else knows that you are actually trying (possibly miserably) to “make it work.”
5 – It’s ok if you have to leave early.
As with all trips, with the kids, you have to plan for blow-ups and throw-ups. When camping, that plan B usually entails an early exit and that’s ok. Learn from the experience and use that to your advantage on the next outing.
Camping is a lot of fun, but twice as much work as we remember when we were kids. Maybe because we’re the parents now. All the pressure is on us to make sure our kids have a great time. (without ending up in the emergency room.) Take a deep breath…follow these great tips…and have fun with it.
You’ve got this!
Check out this cool video showing camping hacks for your tent that you’re going to want to try!
A few months after hearing the phrase “baby A,” we embarked on a corporate roller coaster with the wife at the helm and myself making the transition from aspiring amateur cycling domestique to professional domestic do-gooder.