For many parents, the thought of going camping with their toddlers fills them with dread. There is a lot to contemplate, from the extra stuff that you need to bring, to how to keep them busy. This makes it key for parents to understand the best tips for going RV camping with toddlers.
7 essential tips for RV camping with toddlers are:
- Prepare your little ones
- Find a kid-friendly campsite
- Bring the right stuff
- Keep a routine
- Be flexible
- Plan for downtime
- Assign spaces for each person
If you’re going RV camping with toddlers, these tips will give you a good idea of how to plan your trip. But if you’re going to make your vacation a success, the more information you have in your toolkit, the better. Below, we’ll dive into what you need to know about RV camping with toddlers.
7 Essential Tips For RV Camping With Toddlers
1. Prepare Your Little Ones
Although many parents are tempted to wait until their children are older before taking them RV camping, it is possible to have a great trip with toddlers too. The key to success is to prepare your kids for the experience.
Explain to your little ones where you are going and make it clear that their routine will be a bit different from normal. It is really important to set your children’s expectations early so that they are not surprised or overwhelmed once the holiday starts.
Practice At Home
We all know the saying, ‘practice makes perfect!’ This is good advice to follow if you are heading out RV camping with toddlers. If you have the opportunity, it is a good idea to do a trial camping experience with your kids before your proper vacation.
Tailor To Your Family
Obviously, every family camps differently, so you will need to tailor this practice experience to your specific situation. A long drive in the RV can be a good start if you’re wanting to get your kids used to the idea of spending a lot of time in the van. Likewise, spending a night together in your sleeping bags on the floor at home might also be a good (and simple!) idea.
2. Find A Kid-Friendly Campsite
Luckily for parents, there aren’t many RV campsites that explicitly ban children. However, there are some places that are ‘no-kids-allowed’. Make sure you check the status of your campground before you book.
One of the most important things to consider when taking toddlers camping is the safety of your environment. For example, if you have a little one, you will want to make sure that you are not located close to a main road or a body of water. If you’re in a relatively open campsite, it can be easier to let the kids wander while still being able to watch them.
Consider What Amenities You Need
It will come as no surprise to parents that toddlers can be hard work. They also have very particular needs that need to be met. To make your family RV camping trip a success, make sure you look for a campsite that has everything you need.
If you can, opt for a child-friendly campsite that has entertainment facilities. Some come with games rooms and swimming pools that can be good for filling any downtime. Good toilet facilities are also an important consideration, especially if you have younger children who are potty training.
3. Bring The Right Stuff
When it comes to taking the kids away, one of the biggest challenges is deciding what to pack. When you have toddlers, you have to prepare for every eventuality, just in case! One of the most important things to remember is a baby gate. This can be used inside the RV to help establish a bedtime routine or to keep younger children away from the campfire.
You should also consider the sleeping arrangements for your little ones. Some families will want to bring a specific camp bed for the kids whereas other will be happy just adding in a toddler bed rail inside the RV to keep them safe.
Blackout curtains can be a good idea to encourage sleep in overexcited children, but if you don’t want to splash out on them, bring a few thick blankets to hang instead. If your toddler is a light sleeper, a white noise machine can be a good idea too. These emit a range of soothing sounds which will help your little one fall (and stay) asleep.
Bring A Child Backpack
If you’re heading out into the wild on your RV camping trip and fancy taking the whole family, you’ll need to be prepared. Kids get tired easily, especially when walking for longer periods. To alleviate the crankiness that is likely to develop during a hike, invest in a child backpack. This will allow you to carry your child without them getting too tired.
4. Keep A Routine
Children are used to a routine. It provides them with a sense of safety and security. As much as you can, you should try to stick to some kind of routine on your camping trip. This will make mealtimes and bedtimes much easier.
If your toddler has a favorite toy that they cuddle at night or a book you always read before bed, don’t forget to bring it! Familiar items that signal routines will make it easier for the child to understand which rules still apply in a new environment.
5. Be Flexible
Although routine is important, you will need to be flexible when required. It is vital to remember that this camping trip should be a vacation for your kids too.
Sometimes they may not be feeling like a hike, or they might want to nap after lunch. Choose your battles wisely! There will need to be compromise on both sides and a lot of stress will be removed for parents if they accept that there will have to be an element of going with the flow on holiday.
Don’t Pack Your Itinerary
Many of us are only lucky enough to venture out on family trips once or a few times a year. As such, it can be tempting to write up a jam-packed itinerary that ticks off all the best sights and must-do activities.
However, this is likely to bring problems if you are traveling with kids. While having a handful of things that you’d really like to do is okay, you should allow for downtime and unexpected mood changes. This is important for both quality family time and it also gives the kids some time out as well.
6. Plan For Downtime
Although it might not be the part of the trip that springs to mind when we decide to go camping with the kids, your downtime can actually be some of the most memorable if you prepare accordingly. The opportunity to bond as a family in a new environment can be hugely rewarding and fun.
Bring Camp Games
Camp games are a great way to fill downtime and keep everybody amused. There are hundreds of different games available on the market, but what best suits your family will depend on the ages of your group.
Games like UNO and Pass the Pigs are great for kids, but you don’t need to spend a lot to provide wholesome entertainment if you don’t want to. The classic party game ‘charades’ is fun for all the family, and even small toddlers can get enjoyment from seeing the adults being silly.
Download Your Kid’s Favorite Show
Letting your kids watch TV on holiday seems to be something that divides parents. However, downloading your toddler’s favorite episode of Peppa Pig can be a really helpful way to keep them occupied and grab some time for yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up about this! While it is important to do what you can to ensure that the children have a great camping trip, it is important to allow time for you to recharge your batteries too. You can guarantee that having a couple of easy solutions at the ready will come in useful at some point.
7. Assign Spaces For Each Person
If you are a larger family heading out on an RV camping trip together, it can be useful to designate specific areas for each family member. Children can irritate each other when they spend a lot of time together in a confined space. So, you should make sure that everyone has their own area that they can retire to if they are in need of some quiet time.
By allowing the kids their own personal space, you create a safe environment for them in which to recharge. This helps with routine and bedtimes too. A safe space also gives them a retreat from siblings. You may find that this can help to limit arguments between the children, making your life much easier!
If you’re heading off on an RV trip with toddlers, you may – understandably – be concerned. Toddlers have their own unique set of needs and can be demanding, especially when they are outside of their comfort zones. However, knowing a few tips can help you mitigate the disruption to their routine.
To make your trip enjoyable for all, make sure you are prepared. A vacation can be hugely exciting for your little ones, but they need familiarity and routine to help settle them in their new environment. Follow these tips and your next RV camping trip with the family is bound to be a success!