For little ones, camping is all about trying new things. There are new animals to see, trails to explore, and fun adventures to try. But there can also be some challenges inherent in taking your child out of its usual routine. You’ll make the trip better for everyone if you spend some time before hand, talking about what camping is like—specifically, what sleeping in a tent or RV is like.
If you can, let your child test out their sleeping bag at home before the trip. They can use the sleeping bag in their own bed and get used to climbing in and out of it. If you’ll be camping in a tent, you can pitch the tent in your back yard and do a “test run,” sleeping a night or two out in the tent. That will help everything seem more normal—and more fun—when the actual camping trip arrives.
One of the most challenging things about camping is getting up in the middle of the night. There are no lights to turn on, and bathrooms can be far away. Talk in advance about what your child should do if he or she has to go to the bathroom in the night. Is there a flashlight they can have right next to their bed? Should they wake you up? Be sure to take a family trip to the bathroom right before bed, and avoid giving your child a lot of liquids in the hour or two leading up to bed time.
With a little preparation, your child will know what to expect when it comes to sleeping on your camping trip. Be sure to start slow, with settings that are as comfortable for your child as possible. Before you know it, you’ll have worked your way up to sleeping underneath the stars!