How to Survive Camping with a Toddler
I have ummed and ahhed about writing this post for so long. Mainly because I don’t really know anything about toddlers. After all, I have only dealt with one on a daily basis; and he just happens to be the easiest, most laid back kid ever.
So, while undoubtedly unqualified in the parenting stakes, I do know a bit about camping. After camping with a baby last summer, I thought I should post a little update with how we’ve managed this year. This isn’t really a ‘how to’ guide. If you’re struggling with a non sleeping, tantrumming, fussy eater of a child, I’m thinking that you really don’t need me handing out unsolicited and unhelpful advice.
I’ll just tell you what works for us and how we go about things.
When it comes to food, we keep it simple and stick to favourites. Finn mainly eats pasta, avocado, banana and beans on toast when we camp. He loves yoghurts and fruit so I take plenty for snacks, as well as a few biscuits to keep him happy on walks and car journeys. The main reason we go EHU these days is to keep Finn supplied with milk and yogurts!
It may not be the perfect diet, but it keeps him happy and it’s only for a few days. I also let him eat outside on the floor so it doesn’t matter if he makes a mess. At our last campsite the chickens helpfully cleared up after mealtimes!
We are lucky in that Finn will sleep in the pushchair or car, so we generally try and go for either a drive or a walk to coincide with nap time.
As for sleeping at night, we’re even luckier in that our toddler is easy to settle and then usually sleeps right through at home. The first time we went away this year, we had no idea whether it would work when camping , or if we were in for a very long night!
Fortunately, when camping it’s easy to tire Finn out with lots of walking, exploring the campsite and being out in the fresh air. At bedtime I put him in a travel sleeping bag, give him a bottle and push him around in the buggy until he falls asleep. We then leave him for a while and then transfer him into bed once he is in a deep sleep. This has worked so far, although I’m sure next year it will be different again.
I know it’s easier said than done, but just breathe and let it go. The tent will get messy, there will be mud, routines will not be adhered to and it will rain. Your child won’t suffer any long term harm if they live on sausages and beans for a few days. During our last trip, me and Luke didn’t sleep well and that, combined with running after a toddler, left us completely knackered. To be honest it wasn’t one of my favourite breaks, but I came home feeling so happy. Finn had had an absolutely brilliant time. Seeing him running confidently around the campsite was amazing-especially as he’d only been walking for a couple of months. It is also fantastic for him to have so much more freedom than usual. We have a small house and I always feel so guilty having to keep him contained, so to see him with lots of space to explore was awesome.
So we’ll be back next year for more fun under canvas, more outdoor adventures and more memory making.
Have you camped with young children? What are your top tips?