Camping With Kids: Expectations Vs. Reality

GettyImages-479943427You have fond memories of camping with your own family when you were a child, and you’re thrilled that your own kids are finally old enough to embark on this new family tradition. There’s lots of great things about sleeping outdoors, but camping for the first time with kids might be a different experience than what you remember from your own childhood. Here’s what happens when you actually head into the woods as a family.

 Expectation: Sleeping in a tent as a family will bring you closer together. There’s something so peaceful being lulled to sleep by the sounds of nature.

Reality: Five humans breathing in an enclosed space is a recipe for sweat. And sleeping on the ground as an adult means your back is seriously pissed at you. Your youngest is convinced that every noise is a bear coming to eat him, so morning really can’t come fast enough.

Expectation: It will be nice to get a break from doing chores. You can take a load off an relax for a change.

Reality: Between cooking over the fire, keeping everything as dirt free as possible and washing dishes by hand, camping is actually more work than being at home. And note to self– next time book a camp site closer to the bathroom. Between your post-baby bladder and a kid who can’t wipe himself, you’re getting plenty of cardio.

Expectation: You’ll get a chance to be at one with nature.You’ll be like a granola goddess.

Reality: You underestimated how many bugs there are outside. So your inner Earth Mother is going to hide under five layers of bug spray.

Expectation: The kids can be as loud as they want and run around outside without my having to entertain them.

Reality: You underestimated just how noisy your brood can be, and are pretty sure the entire campground knows you as That Lady Who Yells. And even though they’re surrounded by the great outdoors, you kids ask for the iPad at least once and hour. And you say no, because you’re using it.

Expectation: You’ll bond by telling stories by the fire and chowing down on delicious s’mores.

Reality: Yankee candle can try their hardest, but there’s no substitute for the smell of authentic burning wood. And s’mores are a perfect food. One bite is enough to make you remember why you love camping after all. Good think you brought extra marshmallows.

(Image: SerrNovik/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

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