I tell you a short tale of a mom who is anxious to go camping with her three children. Some of her fondest childhood memories include going camping with her family, and she wanted to make those same memories with her own children. However, when her first and only child at the time was 2.5 years old, he was up in the middle of the night for over 3 hours and was too excited to sleep on their first camping trip. It was also 33ºC, very humid, and there was no air conditioning. She and her husband were not enjoying themselves, so they packed up after 1 night and headed home. The end.
Spoiler alert, that mom is me. Our older boys, ages 8 and 5, have been begging us for years to go camping. We haven’t made the time and we’ve been scared to go back, especially me. I’m not shy to share my life with anxiety, and lack of sleep and worrying about sleep is a huge trigger of mine. However, an opportunity came up this year for all of us to go camping so the big boys could do two days of bible camp, and we really wanted to give it another go. Jay’s job is to get the trailer ready, in terms of towing it and making sure all the electric works, etc. and my job is to pack for the kids and the food…and worry about all the what ifs! After talking with some friends and family, and being happy to report that our camping trip was awesome, I’m sharing some tips today on what I did to make it less stressful for me.
Pack for All Weather
I checked the forecast of our camping location every day for a week. There was a chance of rain, so I packed warmer clothes and water-proof clothes just in case. The evenings/nights can get cooler, so it’s always a good idea to pack lots of layers. Even though we only went for 2 nights, it seems like I packed for a week, but we have the room and I’d rather be over-prepared than under-prepared. Also, my boys are always getting dirty and/or wet, so it’s good to have lots of clean clothes!
Bring Toys/Activities From Home
The best thing we did for Jonathan (and his brothers too!) was to bring about 4 big digger toys. There was a pile of leaves right behind our campsite and he spent many hours digging in the leaves. I did bring 2 board games in case it rained and they didn’t get used. We brought iPads for movies on the way and also in case it rained and we needed some down time inside the camper.
All of the kids had a blast riding their bikes around. They really don’t get to ride their bikes a lot at home because where we live there are only gravel roads and we live in a very hilly area not conducive to bike-riding for little people. This is their favourite thing to do on vacation is to ride their bikes as much as they can, it’s the best thing ever!
Provide Comforts From Home for Sleep
So, as I mentioned already, sleeping is my biggest stressor when we’re away from home (for me, and more so the kids). The kids have always slept with white noise, so I make sure to bring a white noise machine, with batteries for back up in case of no power, and our iPad has a white noise app too. I bring their blankies and stuffies from home so it feels as familiar as possible. The white noise also helps tremendously to drown out the birds who start squawking at 5:00 AM (or earlier!).
Blackout Tent for the Big Boys
Even at home I don’t have to worry about the older boys when they wake up before us. They can quietly get their breakfast and entertain themselves until we wake up. However, when camping, we’re all sleeping in the same “room”, and it’s hard to be quiet and not disturb each other, especially in the morning. This is where a separate space to sleep, like in a tent, is so useful. Plus, they think it’s the best thing ever to sleep in a tent!
The Coleman Dark Room 6 person tent is made with a unique lining that is not only 25% cooler than other tents, but also filters out 90% of the sunlight. Generally tents let a lot of light in, but this was absolutely perfect for our boys to sleep in!
We all had an amazing time camping, and I cannot wait to go again with the boys, and I am so happy that I feel this way!