It’s quite easy to just let your kids roam free as soon as you reach the campground. But in order to get there, some kind of road trip is required. It may not be that long – I’m talking about one and a half to two hour trip – or if you’re crazy, you have managed to book a campsite around 3-4 hours away. And the kids… They never stay still. Here are five skills you would need to learn in order to survive your next camping trip whilst on the road:
1. The skill to change diaper standing up.
If you have the best planning skill ever and you know where to find the side-of-the-road rest area with clean toilet on the way to your campground, then great. But for most of us, we can’t exactly time when that little terror needs a diaper change, so this skill is required. To learn this, practice at home. In the beginning you may need your partner’s help – he/she stands up holding the wailing monster in the air while you then change the diaper to a clean one. Make sure you also practice not to get any ‘residue’ on your partner’s clothes while you’re doing that.
2. The skill to make milk whilst on the go.
This requires a thermos (prefilled), formula or milk powder, a clean bottle and cold water (optional). If the content of the thermos is too hot, you obviously want to cool it down with the cold water. So the trick is to make sure you don’t spill anything while the car is on the move. Watch for those holes on the road because somehow, every time you have the need to make that milk on the go, there is bump in a road, the car in front suddenly stops, or there is a road-kill the car needs to maneuver around.
3. The skill for the person in the passenger seat to pick up anything on the car seat back floor.
Yup, he dropped it again on the floor. The ball that he was playing with, or the donut that she was eating. Normally, it’s ok to let it stay there until you get to the campsite. But if your little toddlers then start to wail or scream uncontrollably, that’s dangerous.
So you need that skill. If you are the one sitting in passenger seat, make sure you do regular stretching and yoga to make sure you’re flexible enough to grab whatever it is on the floor in the back seat. Use your imagination. You don’t want to stop too many times whilst on the road, otherwise you’ll never get to the camp site.
4. The skill to relax when your car gets messy.
Oh yes this is a skill! This skill goes hand in hand with the skill to choose the right ‘car snack’ for the kids. You need to make sure you don’t give them things like banana, yoghurt, or even chocolate bars. Chocolate bars are tempting, but they’ll be everywhere. On the kids (fine, because you’ll just use the wipe), on the floor, on the seat and on their clothes. In saying that, things like cruskits will disintegrate into small little pieces and they will be everywhere. At least, a hand-held vacuum cleaner will certainly take care of that. But anyway, all you need to do is to realize, your sanity is more important than the messy cars. It doesn’t matter how messy it’ll get, a vacuum cleaner can take care of that. Repeat this mantra: “You can always clean your car later”. So just relaaaax.
5. Lastly, the skill to ignore tantrum!
It doesn’t matter how many ‘gadgets’ or games you prepared for your road trips. Tantrums are bound to happen. There will be fights, tired kids, the question ‘are we there yet’, and just the fact that toddlers will throw tantrums regardless. So you need to learn the skill to ignore them. Have you ever seen another parent with a toddler in the supermarket line where the little kid screams and throws tantrum to get the mother to buy him/her chup-a-chup or surprise egg? How many times you see the mother then ignores it, and the tantrum subsides? Well, most parents will give in, but if you’re lucky enough to witness ignoring tantrum actually works, then that’s great. Use it to your advantage. The tantrum will inevitably subside on its own and they will be fine.
Now go and enjoy your camping trip!
Sally is the founder of kidsgocamping.com. She loves taking the kids outdoor and camping, because she finds that the kids behave the best when taken outdoor.