Camping is one of my favorite outdoor activities to do, so when some of my friends tell me that they camped as a child and that was enough for them, I struggle to relate to their dislike of it. Camping should not be a scarring experience. While I understand that it is not for everyone, your childhood experiences should not dictate how you feel about camping in the future.
The first rule when it comes to your child’s first camping trip is to remember that it is not about you. While you might be so excited for this trip, you have to remember to keep your child’s best interest in mind.
For the first time, I would suggest having a plan that is flexible and pretty much effortless. You may have already thought of this, but a good first step is to camp at home. While it might not seem exciting for you, it will be new and foreign to them. Plus, if your child really hates it, his or her bedroom will not be too far away. However, your child may realize this fact as well, and use this against you. That being said, you may want to migrate to an area that is close to your home, but not familiar to your child.
Car camping will make your life easier. Being able to store your gear in the car will be so much less effort than backpacking with a small child. Plus, if the weather takes a turn for the worst, at least you will have a car as a backup.
Your child should help you out throughout the day. They should learn what it is like to camp, and you can have them help with tasks such as washing the dishes in that warm soapy water. Fetching water might become their new all-time favorite activity!
You should pick a campground that has family friendly features. You might want to see if the campground has amenities such as playgrounds, swimming areas, boat rentals, and more. This will help to keep your child engaged, as there will probably be other children in the area as well. If the campground has activities or a Junior Ranger program, it could be fun to have your child participate in those programs. It is great to get your child engaged; this will distract them from missing the modern day comforts at home.