By Corey & Jentri King from Backcountry Parenting.
Many people believe that once you have kids your adventures have to come to an end. No more camping, climbing, surfing, backpacking, or any other extreme sport you participated in before getting pregnant. Well, we are here to tell you that it can be done, and you don’t have to trade in your Subaru for a mini-van!
When it comes to camping with kids there are some things to keep in mind that will make your trips more enjoyable.
- The biggest piece of advice we were given by another outdoor family was to take things at your kid’s pace. Slow things down and make sure that they are enjoying the journey as well. The main reason we take our kids camping with us is to hopefully get them interested in our shared passion. No matter how big or small they are talk to them and tell them your plans, if things change, make sure to update them. This sounds silly, but it can help avoid future frustration.
Don’t go into your trips having your goals set in stone. In fact expect everything to go wrong, then when things work out you will be pleasantly surprised and when things do go wrong you will be prepared. In fact sometimes you will spend hours getting ready to go, head out, and in the midst of setting up your child will be done. You need to have the willingness at this point to pack back up and head home with intentions to try again another day. If you try and force your kids to have fun outdoors they will hate the outdoors.
One of our mottos is “Let it go!” When you are camping with your kids you need to let them and explore. Allow them to get dirty and possibly scrape themselves. Amazingly enough kids clean up quite well and their bodies heal from scraps and bruises quickly. Their clothes are even washable and replaceable, though I would advise using thrift store clothes while camping. I have never heard of a kid getting sick from eating dirt or chewing on rocks either. So just “Let it go”. There is no better way for them to learn than for them to have to pick themselves back up after falling down, brushing themselves off, and continue running down the trail.
Here are a few guidelines of how to adapt as you child grows:
- Even though modern society tells you NO, your child’s first 6 months are the easiest to get out and do things. The child is perfectly content just laying there doing nothing.
- The roughest time frame starts when they begin to be mobile until they are proficient walkers and obedient. They want to check out everything and go everywhere. This time period slowed our adventures down dramatically and we really had to tailor trips around our son.
- Once your child is proficient at walking, obedient, and able to self-entertain then your trips can be more hardcore. We have begun this phase back to intense trips now that our son is 3 years old.
Now get out there and enjoy the outdoors! Learn more of how to family camp with ENO on our blog.
-Corey & Jentri King (Backcountry Parenting)