Camping in the great outdoors with your kids can be brilliant fun … as long as you know the (unwritten) rules.
Sleeping in a tent and spending all day playing outside until dark – going camping is the perfect holiday for kids.
And to make sure you enjoy it as almost as much as they do, here is the list of 10 rules you should know before you go camping with kids:
You will row with your partner within five minutes of arriving
Putting up a tent is a stressful business. Especially when you can’t find the instructions, it’s already getting dark … and your child is determined to go off and explore.
Cue furious rows with your partner, all under your breath of course (you don’t want your new neighbors to hear) while you both struggle to figure out which pole/peg goes where.
You will pack a ridiculous amount of stuff
You will feel like you’ve packed pretty much your entire house before you set off … only to realize you’ve forgotten half the things you were meant to bring when you get there.
(And yes, you are allowed to cry if you realize you’ve forgotten the bottle opener.)
Don’t expect to be able to find anything you’ve packed
You spent ages packing all those ‘essential items’ at home. But with no storage in your tent, within seconds the floor becomes a mishmash of socks, drying-up towels and plastic plates.
All of which means you can never find anything you need. Don’t worry – you probably left it on your kitchen table anyway …
All rules will go out the window
You’re still a stickler for putting on the sun lotion. But every other rule is pretty much abandoned the minute the tent is up.
If your child isn’t having a ‘wild wee’ in the woods (and not washing his hands) he’s chomping away on marshmallows just seconds after he’s brushed his teeth.
Aah well – may as well embrace the camping lifestyle. And at least it means no nagging.
Forget scheduled bedtime
There might be a strict bedtime curfew at home. But under canvas – with no blackout blinds and other tents right next to you – there is no way on earth you’ll get your child in bed before dark.
You will get a maximum of three hours' sleep a night
That’s if you’re lucky.
If you’re not being woken up at 5 am by your child, it will be the birds singing at 4 am. Or your neighbor tripping over your tent peg on the way back from the loos.
Or the fact that sleeping in a tent is SO. UNCOMFORTABLE.
Your child will never sit down to eat
You know all those plastic plates you carefully washed and packed? Yep, they won’t see the light of day on your camping trip.
Instead your child will be so excited about the grass/ trees/ stars/ insects he won’t actually sit down for five minutes. Let alone to eat a meal.
Your child will wake up because of the cold
No matter how hot it’s been in the day, it gets blinking cold at night.
So don’t be surprised if your child wakes up at 3 am on his airbed, complaining that it’s freezing. You’ll probably be feeling exactly the same!
You will get told off by the warden
Your child literally cannot contain his excitement. Meaning if he’s not charging around pretending to be an explorer, he’s kicking a ball or making a mud pie. All while shouting at the top of his voice.
And this will probably go on until way past his bedtime.
Unsurprisingly then, yours will be the nosiest pitch. And the warden will come and tell you to be quiet at least twice. The shame!
Be prepared for laundry hell at the end of your holiday
Your washing machine will be on overdrive when you get home.
And while the piles of laundry should put you off ever going camping again, you realize it actually was quite fun …