THE SECRET TO TOURING WITH KIDS
Don’t let the thought of spending a week away with your kids (or someone else’s) fill you with dread. My childhood was filled with memories of camping and hiking and those memories have stayed with me forever. However, travelling with kids is undoubtedly more stressful and fine tuning it takes time. There are some things you can do to make your life (and those around you) easier.
GO WHERE THERE ARE OTHER KIDS
I was a fanatic free camper when I was younger but having kids changed that. Camping with kids needs to be at a campsite where there are other children to keep them entertained. There are plenty of child-friendly campsites across Australia to choose from and once we’ve set up camp I take the kids on a bike ride across the campsite to see if we can spot any other kids their age. With a little encouragement and a day or two to ease into it, kids usually form holiday friendships. I exchange information with the other child’s parents and usually, you can earn a few hours’ respite and enjoy the peace and quiet while the kids are playing at their friend’s camp.
MOVE THE GOALPOSTS
My objectives when camping used to be seeing as much as possible and exploring enticing locations off the beaten track. With kids, you have to change the goal. Our new holiday objective is to spend time together. We still hike, but we limit the time spent out and about to accommodate for the children, who often want to run around the campsite and play with other kids. Once you embrace your new-found holiday vibe, you are going to get a lot more out of it than if you maintain the expectations of spending all day out scaling gorges and marching the kids up another hill.
KEEP FAMILIAR ROUTINES
Bedtime can be overwhelming when you are on holiday. Everything is new and exciting and the kids just don’t want to go to sleep. The best way to combat this is to keep your routines from home. If you read a bedtime story at home then read them a bedtime story when you’re away, if they have a glass of warm milk then get them some warm milk. Inserting your routines into the holiday will help bring the kids back down at the end of a busy day.
INVOLVE THEM IN ACTIVITIES AND DECISIONS
As my children have gotten older they have appreciated having an input in decisions about where to go on holiday. Showing them the choice of locations and the sights on offer gets them excited and letting them help choose the campsite makes them feel like it’s their holiday too and they aren’t just accompanying you on your holiday.
This is also true when you arrive and need to set up the camp. My eldest loves taking responsibility for setting up the tents and helping choose a location and building the campfire. Getting them involved in setting the campsite up is a rewarding experience and teaches them useful skills.
Camping with the family will impart the appreciation for nature onto your children and give them the opportunity to create the memories you created that got you so into camping in the first place. One you accept it won’t be the same as you are used to, it is an incredibly fulfilling experience in its own right.
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