Archive for family traditions

5 Tips for Making Your Kids’ First Camping Experience More Enjoyable

Camping with kids for the first time can make any parent feel worried and a little unsure. Make the experience as enjoyable as possible for both you and your kids by following these five tips:

1. Do a practice run

If your kids have never been camping before, it’s a good idea to spend a night “camping” in your backyard. That way your kids can get a taste of what’s to come, and you’ll have a better idea of how they handle sleeping in a tent or camper.

2. Start small

You might prefer to camp in the wilderness with no running water, but a child may be most at ease camping in a more developed area. Start at a campground close to home with toilets and running water. You want to ease kids into the camping experience—not scare them away from it.

3. Get the kids involved

Letting your kids be involved in the planning process will help build their excitement and make them feel more comfortable with the overall camping experience. Have them help you plan out meals and let them pack their own bags. It will make them more aware of the responsibilities that come with camping so they’re prepared in the future.

4. Establish camp rules

Kids should have fun while camping, but it also important that they stay safe. Set up boundaries so they know where it is okay to roam while unsupervised and which areas are off-limits. You can also create a buddy system. If your kids wants to go off by themselves, they should always tell an adult first.

5. Plan activities

If your kids are used to being entertained by televisions, cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices, they might feel lost without technology. Plan fun activities though like hiking, swimming, and games to help your kids forget about their video games!

Camping with kids takes a little more work and planning, but the cherished memories you’ll create together make the extra effort worth it.

For more information on how to camp, check out our other posts:

30 Blogs That Help Parents Develop and Maintain a Family Routine

I wanted to share with you Carol’s blog. She has many posts on developing healthy family relationships through routines. Please click here to find great information on how routines can help your family!

Memories of Camping: Create Yours This Summer

My earliest memories are of waking up at 2:00 am and getting in the car (which my dad had already packed for our annual two weeks of camping at Sheep Creek, Kings Canyon, California) and then singing or counting animals or seeing how many state license plates my brother and I could find (with mom’s help). That time spent in the car together was just the beginning. We spent the days swimming, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and playing hide and seek in the dark forest, sleeping under the stars and never being afraid. My brother, cousins, and I are now (65+ years later) the best of friends. I think these experiences together of total freedom are so important. Take your kids camping so you can start creating their wonderful childhood memories!

Family Ritual and Routine Correlates with Lower Mental Illness in Teenagers

Numerous studies point to the benefits of family traditions. Regular family dinners were shown to be a consistent factor in the family life of Rhodes scholars. Research shows family ritual and routine correlates with lower mental illness in teenagers.

According to one of the largest federally funded studies, “Teens and Their Parents in the 21st Century: Trends in Teen Behavior and the Role of Parental Involvement,” family dinner times reduce teenagers’ risks of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, smoking, and early sexual behaviors. Routine creates predictability, which is critical for children. Ritual creates meaning and consolidates an experience into a memorable moment to identify with throughout life.

Planning the menu can be the first ritual of a family campout. Letting everyone pitch in ideas and list their favorite foods kicks off the fun. You begin to anticipate the enjoyment of the trip. Shopping, packing the car together, making a bag of snacks for the drive, and picking out the music for the road trip all increase the excitement. Then the family hops in the car, feeling free as a bird. The vacation has begun, and you have everything you need to relax into a rich and rewarding experience.