A couple of my fabulous WeeSleep consultants went on a little camping expedition. I had to share what advice they had for family camping trips and how to keep sleep and routines on track while in the wild wilderness!
Some said we are nuts. Some asked “won’t your children go off track with a interruption of schedule?”. Michelle and I are here to tell you, that you too can camp AND have great sleepers. So, here we go! 4 kids between the ages of 2-10 (3 of which were 2-5 years old). 4 adults. 2 campsites. 2 nights. We had VERY successful naps and nights. All children slept 11+hrs and 3 out of 4 children took 2hr naps each day. Here are our tips:
1. Arrive early: give yourselves time to set up so that you can have your children in bed at an appropriate time so that they do not become over tired.
2. Too hot or too cold: pack weather appropriate sleepwear. If you don’t have a furnace in your camper to keep you warm, be sure to pack layers!!!
3. Don’t be woken by the birds: pack a sound machine. This will be your BEST friend! Keep it on rain and turn it up a little bit louder than normal; those early morning birds will be a thing of the past. Make sure your sound machine takes batteries and that it doesn’t automatically shut off after an hour or two. Alternatively, you can do what we do and use the Sleep Pillow Sounds: White Noise Machine app (available in the Apple App Store) and a set of mini speakers to boost the sound.
4. Sleep in comfort: mimic their sleeping conditions. Bring their snuggly buddy, their pillow (if they use one), small flash light if they sleep with one, and their favourite blanket.
5. If you’re camping with little ones who still take a bottle, be prepared BEFORE bedtime. Nothing fun about trying to make a bottle in the middle of the night and in the dark!
6. Naps: naps can be tough. They are having fun and don’t want to take a break. Get that nap in there so that they don’t become over tired. It may take them a little longer to fall asleep but help them get those extra zzzz’s. Quiet time will also help them become less stimulated and less irritable.
7. Bedtime: Continue with your regular routine. You may not have access to a bath, but a wash down, jammies, books/songs and cuddles are all things you can bring with you. If nap-time was a fail, bump bedtime up accordingly.
8. Nutrition: toddlers and kids are busy bodies, keep them fueled with nutrient dense food so they aren’t hungry in the middle of the night and wake early to eat.
9. Don’t be worried: Summer is too short to not enjoy it! Get out there. Once you have a great independent sleeper, anything that goes off track for one weekend can be adjusted as soon as you get back to your regular routine.
10. Last but not least: enjoy yourselves. Once little ones are in bed, enjoy a little mommy or daddy juice yourself and relax!
If you’re really worried about packing everything up to try for just one night, try camping out in your backyard or campground close by. If you have a trailer and it fits in your driveway, you could even set it up right there!
Looks like they made out just fine and had a tonne of fun to boot!