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Backyard Camping

I started sleeping outside with my son once a month when he turned three. I wish I’d started sooner. Backyard camping is so easy that it almost seems silly and too obvious. It’s not “REAL” camping. That’s not the point. This is the kiddie pool of camping. It’s safe, warm, controlled, and pee is not a problem.

Also, why are you too good for this? Sleeping outside under the stars is a treat whether you’re in a national park or you can hear your neighbors watching Parks and Rec.

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Objective

Sleep outside with your kids.

Expand your comfort zones. (theirs as much as yours)

What you need

Tent

Sleeping pads

Sleeping bags

Pillows

Lights

Water

Blankets

Snacks

A great many people, and more all the time, live their entire lives without ever once sleeping out under the stars.

– Alan S. Kesselheim

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Why You Need to Do This First

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Backyard camping is absolutely required before a true camping trip because there is room for error. Forget something? It’s 10 feet away. Now you won’t forget that thing when it matters. This is practice. We talking bout practice.

However, you have to make it fun. Kid’s not feeling it? Waive off. Weather looks iffy? Try again next weekend. This is your one shot. Mom’s spaghetti.

 

Why You Need to Do This First

Backyard camping is absolutely required before a true camping trip because there is room for error. Forget something? It’s 10 feet away. Now you won’t forget that thing when it matters. This is practice. We talking bout practice.

However, you have to make it fun. Kid’s not feeling it? Waive off. Weather looks iffy? Try again next weekend. This is your one shot. Mom’s spaghetti.

star_circle_camping
Backyard Camping 1

Step 1.

Start early. Pick a spot that won’t get any unnatural light at night. Let them help you set up the tent. I’m sure you can do it by yourself. Let them help. Let them mess up. They need to know this isn’t easy even under the best possible circumstances. Camping requires attention and patience so give those things to them.

Will is particularly good at putting things into other things. Laying out the tent just right? Not so much. But tell him that every clip needs to be clipped and obsessive toddler mode is activated.

Step 1.

Backyard Camping 1

Start early. Pick a spot that won’t get any unnatural light at night. Let them help you set up the tent. I’m sure you can do it by yourself. Let them help. Let them mess up. They need to know this isn’t easy even under the best possible circumstances. Camping requires attention and patience so give those things to them.

Will is particularly good at putting things into other things. Laying out the tent just right? Not so much. But tell him that every clip needs to be clipped and obsessive toddler mode is activated.

 

 

Step 2.

Pack the tent with as much comfort as you can. Sleeping pad (the big one you don’t want your hardcore friends to know that you own), sleeping bags, real pillows. Maybe an extra blanket on the floor of the tent. My kid sleeps on a dog bed. Kids under 5 don’t need a legitimate sleeping pad but they need something for when they squirm and squiggle into positions and locations you didn’t think were possible in a space so small.

 

 

Backyard Camping 3

Step 2.

Backyard Camping 3

Pack the tent with as much comfort as you can. Sleeping pad (the big one you don’t want your hardcore friends to know that you own), sleeping bags, real pillows. Maybe an extra blanket on the floor of the tent. My kid sleeps on a dog bed. Kids under 5 don’t need a legitimate sleeping pad but they need something for when they squirm and squiggle into positions and locations you didn’t think were possible in a space so small.

Backyard Camping 2

Wrapping it Up.

Bring water. You don’t want to have to unzip everything the moment you get comfortable.

Bring shoes. Yeah, you brought the water but they always find the hole in your game. “No, I wanted the OTHER water bottle.”

Bring a light. When they have to go pee, just shine it where you want them to go (I’m not sure how this works with girls; I have two boys).

Oh, yeah. Turn off the sprinklers. TURN OFF THE SPRINKLERS.

Don’t set an alarm. You’ll be fine. With a few reps, you’ll be ready to be your family’s guide.

Wrapping it Up.

Backyard Camping 2

Bring water. You don’t want to have to unzip everything the moment you get comfortable.

Bring shoes. Yeah, you brought the water but they always find the hole in your game. “No, I wanted the OTHER water bottle.”

Bring a light. When they have to go pee, just shine it where you want them to go (I’m not sure how this works with girls; I have two boys).

Oh, yeah. Turn off the sprinklers. TURN OFF THE SPRINKLERS.

Don’t set an alarm. You’ll be fine. With a few reps, you’ll be ready to be your family’s guide.

Go build your Strong. Happy. Family.

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