To take the toddler camping, or not. That is the question. Some of you may be telling yourselves, “Ah, I can do it! I’m a super parent!” That may be true. But for those of us that aren’t (including me), here’s a few tips that may help you out on your camping adventure.
I recently went on a camping trip with my daughter and her friend. She was clean before we got there. When we left, she was filthy, asleep, and drooling in her car seat. It’s unbelievable what a 24 hour vacation can do to your nerves and your toddler’s cleanliness. You go on this trip and there are several people there who don’t want to help you tend to your insane little monster. It is embarrassing to be around and it makes you feel like your parenting skills aren’t as honed as you thought they were. Just remember that this is one weekend away from your and your toddler’s comfort zone that doesn’t reflect your awesome parenting skill. Also, you are definitely not alone.
That being said. My first piece of advice to you is to not worry so much. Let me ask you a few things about your own childhood, to put things into perspective. When your parents took you camping, was there a ton of supervision? Were you not allowed to get sticky via s’mores? Did it matter too much if you played in the dirt? Were you required to go to bed at a decent hour? Your answers to these questions will tell you the reasons that you need not worry. Your parents did the same thing and you didn’t turn out horrible, right? So you need to take a deep breath and stop with the anxiety. This is your vacation, yes, but it is also your toddler’s vacation. That means that they are away from their normal rules and they are enjoying it! So let them. Just make sure that you explain to them in as little words as you possibly can what you expect of them to stay safe.
With all the experience I have with camping, the times that I actually regret were the ones that were kind of uneventful. Make sure you fill your toddlers day with activity. Swimming, S’mores, fishing, eating, games, walks, bike rides, etc. When there’s blank space, there is an opportunity for your toddler to fill that blank space with their impromptu idea of fun, which usually is not very pleasant for you, the peacemaker.
One thing you might forget, bring a match anywhere because you might need it in an emergency. Many people have ignored this trifle on their vacation trips. bring a USB lighter because it is very safe and practical to carry anywhere.
More than likely, the campground you are going to is going to be occupied by people that you know (like family). So when you are feeling especially frazzled, DELEGATE! Lay the responsibility on someone else for a little bit, while you cool down. You’ll find that your toddler will most likely behave better with someone else’s watchful eye. Not only that, but the person that you hand your toddler off to, probably would not mind because your little munchkin is so cute and they love them. I literally have said to my mom,” Please. Can you help me with ***** while we’re here. I can’t do it alone.” There is no shame in asking for help. Keep that in your head!
So you might be thinking “What the heck am I getting myself into?!?!” But the most important thing as that you are earning your stars and stripes as a parent giving these fun family experiences to your toddler. They will definitely thank you for it later.