Mostly it is safe. It is because Camping events tend to be memorable. Whether they go right, or something goes wrong, just like in the movies, those different times carry on past all the years of teenage rebellion, angst, and day to day living, to become a bonding memory later on. That is as long as the parents aren’t critical, demanding, or expecting too much. Even as teens, we insisted the kids come camping at least once or twice a year. We always let them bring a friend, so they didn’t have to ‘suffer’ alone.
Most of this was pre-personal technology, so the culture shock part was not as discernible as it is now.
The most significant resistance came from my daughter, I let her bow out. She declared herself a ‘city’ person. Much to my surprise, years later, she went on a rugged hiking trip down into the Grand Canyon and back out. A part of her has never forgotten the positive elements of being in the wilderness.
So that is the other aspect. Give your children the experience of being truly outdoors and living in it. They can then have a basis on which to decide if they want more or less of these experiences later in life. Being the first to share in a new activity with your child is one of the blessings of being a parent.
Is It Safe For Children To Go Camping?
Ours were 2 and 4 spending nights near the car. They fit crosswise at the bottom of the tent for years. They had mummy bags. Suggestion – tie a line to the bottom, so they don’t ‘scoot’ down to a constant bottom of the bag. Sleeping out without a tent, we’ve retrieved the four-year-old from a surprising distance from where he was the night before.
When 3 and 5, the older one carried his clothes. We were doing 20-mile backpacks over some high Colorado passes – slowly tho. Dad was slow!
Tips To Manage Your Children While You Camp
Make sure they are warm at night and have an insulating pad under their sleeping bag and learn to get back on it – in the middle of the night.
Make sure each has a whistle (not the ones with the loose ball). Borrow the noise and play hide and seek with a parent, using the pipe.
Make sure they are ‘waterproofed’ and know how to return to a shore or float.
Take along a board game that all can enjoy – in a tent.
Make sure they have a specified job they are responsible for in camp. Rotate the jobs.
Let them take over the map reading and understand where they are to locate on the map. Spend time making them aware of what is around them, and how much longer before “Are we there yet?”
Make them part of the planning of any trip, be it motel based, camping in a campground, or backpacking. When on a car trip, and they are old enough, have them plan a day. Give them a direction and a place to stay. Let them make the call to reserve a spot. Then you use the next day to get back on your ‘plan’.