Camping is the perfect summertime family activity here in Central Oregon, but exposing kids to the outdoors can be a headache. As a parent, allowing children to enjoy nature in a safe way can be stressful.  No matter what you bring, one of the best things about a camping trip is getting away from everyday life and enjoying quality family time. These five camping tips will help you focus on being present in each other’s company, relaxing and having fun.

  1. Involve kids in process
    • Encourage kids to be involved with chores such as gathering wood, setting up the tent, food prep. etc. Helping kids to feel involved in the process makes them feel needed and can assist in family bonding. Bringing along special camping treats like s’mores are a great way to facilitate family activities.
  2. Stick to your usual routine as much as possible
    • Following the same bedtime rituals and nap schedules is important even when camping (especially with small children). Unpacking while it is still light outside can reduce fear and help children feel more comfortable in their new surroundings.
  3. Pack the right clothing
    • Especially here in Central Oregon, weather can change at the drop of a hat. Protecting your kids with the proper clothing prepares them for the constant weather changes. Dress in layers to adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day. Bring lightweight jackets, hats, and rain gear. Make sure that during outdoor activities, kids have supportive shoes or hiking boots. Refrain from flip flops and non-supportive sandals that can lead to injury.
  4. Use the buddy system
    • Kids should never leave their campsite without a parent, sibling or friend. Teach kids safety rules and always provide accompaniment to bathrooms, trash facilities, or into the woods.
  5. Choose a family-friendly campsite
    • Find campsites with noise regulations that fit your families needs; some campsites have “quiet hours”. If you are traveling with younger children that need to stick to a bedtime, or older children that want to play louder games around the fire after dark, doing your site research first is important. Choose a location with a variety of activities, such as hiking trails, lakes and mountains. Avoid campgrounds near major roads or heavy traffic.

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