Brannon Perilloux, M.D.
Summer is a great time to leave the screens behind and pitch a tent or camper at a far-away campground or some place close to home. Kids will love the home-away-from-home and will never forget it. Letting everyone get back to nature and ditch the electronics is great for the mind and soul of parents and children alike.
Below are some common sense tips for camping with kids for the first time:
1. Don’t hike out into the boonies and pitch a tent. Find a campground with a camp site right next to your vehicle, with a picnic table.
2. Plan ahead, especially if trying to go to a National Park or State Park, some of these sites fill up quickly.
3. Might try a test run, in the back yard. Setting up a tent can be frustrating if you haven’t done it previously. What will you be sleeping on? Sleeping bags? Cot?
4. For the first time, borrow or rent a tent, buy when you think you’ll be doing this often.
5. Don’t over pack (Mom), you aren’t going to need much makeup, dresses, shoes – just pack the basics.
6. Pack for the weather – could be cool at night.
7. Set up camp in complete daylight – when its dark, its very difficult for things to go together correctly.
8. Stick to whatever routines your children have been accustomed, such as naps and bedtimes.
9. Leave all electronics in the car – no one can touch or take out of the car.
10. Plan ahead for having a campfire (a necessity for all kids and Dads). The campfire makes the experience awesome. Does the campground have wood for sale? Do they have fire pits already made? Do you have a lighter? Small kindling? Are we planning on roasting hotdogs or marshmallows? Do you have coat hangers or holders for those things?
11. Don’t swear the small stuff and have FUN !