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For young children, everything is new. And everything is a potential toy or food, though they don’t yet know what is dangerous. That is why you must carefully supervise or control young children, though they’ll almost always enjoy the experience if kept safe. The challenge is doing this while you’re digging latrines, setting up tents, and building fires. Here are seven tips for a successful camping trip with a baby.
01. Minimize the Work You Have to Do
The definition of “best” when it comes to camping tends to mean rugged and durable. It should also include items that are as convenient as possible.
No one wants to spend an hour setting up a tent. And it is tough to set up a tent when your toddler is trying to climb on and around it.
The solution is to have a travel playpen that you can set up in less than a minute that will keep your child contained. The same should be true for a child’s camping high chair or crib.
02. Have Child Safe Medical Essentials
If you’re going camping with a baby, you’re at risk of bug bites, cuts, bruises, and poison ivy. Have child-safe medical supplies.
After all, there are oral pain relievers that aren’t considered safe for children under two, and you don’t want to rely on that to treat a toddler’s injury.
03. Pack the Baby’s Things Separately
Whether you have a cranky baby ready for a nap or a sick child, you shouldn’t be searching four different bags for what you need at that moment.
Pack everything your child needs in a travel bag barring medical supplies in a medical kit. And consider packing an extra stomach reliever, pain reliever, and allergy medicine in the diaper bag or the baby’s bag so that you don’t have to go hunting for it when the child needs it.
Pack everything else for the family by categories, such as cooking equipment and sleeping bags.
Pack extra essentials for the baby like sippy cups and bottles with the cooking equipment so that you always have some. That way, you don’t have to worry about how you’ll give your child a drink if they lost the sippy cup they were holding.
04. Keep Your Child Cool
If you’re camping in the summer, you must keep your child cool. Young children lack the same ability to regulate their body temperature as older children. It is easy for them to get over-heated under a blanket in the hot sun.
They lack the sense or even the physical coordination to take off a blanket or shirt if hot, too. This is why it is your responsibility to make sure the child isn’t overheated.
One solution is keeping them in the shade and keeping them supplied with cool drinks. Unfortunately, a young child may wander, and cold drinks can actually cause stomach cramps. You don’t want a young child to be nearly naked in the sun since it leaves them at risk for bug bites and sunburn.
The solution is to provide a steady stream of cool air. The best fan for baby room on the go is a clip-on portable fan you can run while your child is sitting in the car seat or while your child’s in the playpen. This will have the side benefit of preventing sweat rash and push most flying insects away.
05. Plan All Meals to Be Family Friendly
Plan all meals when camping with a baby so that you know what food and food prep supplies to take. Plan meals that everyone in the family can eat, including young children and those with food allergies.
It is hard enough to make two separate meals in a kitchen, and the task is almost impossible on a campout while supervising young children.
Take extra food since your kids may drop things on the ground, or wild animals may get into it. And this gives you enough food should all that exercise make people hungrier than expected, while you don’t have to do a lot of extra work to serve it.
Consider packing snacks that don’t require any prep if it takes longer than expected to get the fire going or you run out of propane for the grill.
06. Bring Entertainment
Be honest. While your child may be curious about wild animals and leaves for a little while, they won’t be entertained by nature’s glory for days on end—pack other things to do.
You could pack toy shovels and trucks for playing in the dirt. Pack balls and Frisbees so they can play outside. You could make things educational by packing nature identification books for older children.Getting outdoors with a baby can seem daunting. If you’re considering taking your infant or younger toddler on a camping trip soon, read this first! Click To Tweet
07. Remember the Routine
Young children do best when they stick to a familiar routine. Go to bed at your normal time. Get up at your regular time.
If you have to get up earlier to take care of a generator or prep food, let the kids sleep in until their regular time.
Have things set up so your toddler can nap with familiar toys and blankets at their regular time. You don’t have to bring all ten stuffed animals, but they must have their favorite.
Camping with babies requires planning and careful selection of gear. However, you can bring your infant or toddler camping with you and include them in the activities. Have fun!
Do you enjoy camping with your family?
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.