Traditionally my family has always taken holidays camping and as kids, we loved it because we had the freedom to run around outside, play on our bikes and spend day after day with the friends that we had made. It was great exercise and it got us away from the TV and electronic games for a few weeks.
Once I became an adult I knew I would love my kids to have the same type of holidays and benefits that they give. But what I didn’t realize was the reality of camping with a new baby or young children. As soon as I had my son the thought of having to manage my already complicated life in a more difficult environment was totally off-putting and I didn’t go camping for many years. I returned again when the youngest was a few years old and although it was hard work, it was totally worth it and was fantastic for the children. Now my children are a few years older, it is getting easier every year.
This year I went away camping as usual and we were on a campsite with a few friends who had young children and one who had a new baby that was only a few weeks old. After spending a week with them and seeing how they managed, I could have kicked myself when I realized that camping with a brand new baby is actually really easy and much easier than when they are a few years old, because most of the time they are asleep or being carried around. You can carry them around in a sling and still do most things in the evening, they can be out wherever you are in the pram and they can sleep on the move.
I really wish that I had realized this at the time because I missed a few years which I could have easily managed with a new baby. The trick is to simplify your life while you are away and make sure you prepare before you go, you can make some dishes and freeze them in takeaway containers in advance. I freeze everything before we leave (butter, bread) and then put it all in a cool bag, that way it stays cold for a couple of days. You can then cook things as they defrost. The other tip is to make sure you don’t have a hectic schedule, so you don’t need to rush about. Life with a new baby needs to be flexible and you need time to prepare before you go out.
Another good idea is to have an extra adult, you could take a family friend, aunt, uncle or grandparent as an extra pair of hands, this can be really helpful if you have other children who need watching or entertaining.
One of the most important things is that you have plenty of space in your tent or an extra gazebo in case the weather is bad, the hardest thing is all being in a small space for a long time.
By: Jane Hull