For some people, the idea of spending a few days and nights in the Wild Outdoors will give you the creepy-crawlies. You might imagine dirt under your fingernails, bugs in places you’d rather not have them be, and things that might rattle the tent – from the outside, that is – in the night. J This article is not here to convince you that packing up your family and a few sparse belongings to spend time reconnecting with said bugs, dirt, and things that go “bump” in the night!
For some of us, however crazy it may seem, immersing yourself in Nature, is something you enjoy doing from time-to-time. (Or, maybe you just really love drinking around the fire, burning things, and the prospect of eating s’mores until your stomach hurts. Ahem.) As with everything else, things change once you have a family, and adaptations must be made to facilitate an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!
My kids and I love camping as a family, and as a single parent, I’ve had to make several of these types of adaptations. Here are a few of the tried-and-true suggestions from one dirt-loving family to another:
– Let the kids pack their own stuff! Make a list of everything they need to bring along on the trip, and let them cross the things off as you go through the bag to double-check that it’s all there.
– Pack separate bags for separate activities. Our family has an “adventure” backpack for nature hikes, a “beach bag” for water play, a “stuck inside” satchel for nighttime, or rainy days.
– Unplug yourself. No, I’m not going to get preachy! Ok, well maybe a little bit. Whether you’re in a cabin, camper, or tent, modern electronic entertainment is still very easy to engage in. Although it’s fun, sometimes it serves as a distraction rather than enriching our lives, and can disconnect us from each other. Consider using this time away as a chance to find alternate ways to spend your time, not only for yourself but for your kids. I know it’s hard… but stay strong! Bring books you can read together as a family, simple art and music supplies, games that travel well, and conversation starters that fit into a small bag or purse. A couple of our favorites are Be the Gift, and the UnGame.
– Keep the basics all together for next time. Quite possibly the.worst.thing. about camping is having to unpack everything when you get back, and re-pack everything every single time you want to take a little trip. Conversely, the BEST thing about it is that most things you won’t need at home, and can be set aside for the next time instead. Keep a bin or few in your spare room, basement, or garage that has all the fixin’s you’ll need for your next excursion. And if you have more than one container, label the outside so as to prevent the need to empty out the entire thing to find what you’re looking for only to discover it’s not in there. (Not that that’s ever happened to me before!)
– Stay safe, and have fun! Pretty self-explanatory. This is your time to get away from it all. So keep the drinking & s’more eating to a minimum, layer on the bug spray, & let yourself play and enjoy this special time with your family. Oh, and be sure to put a fresh coat of paint on your toenails before you go.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list! What are your camping tips & suggestions? Feel free to post them, or send me a message!
Michelle Mersy, C.P.C. is the mother of two children (who love s’mores, but not quite as much as their mom does), and a certified Life and Parenting Coach. Connect with her on Facebook, or call/text her at: 989-397-8386. www.MichelleMersy.com.