Single-parent camping: the best tips for going solo with the kidsadmin
Just because you’re alone with the kids doesn’t mean you have to spend the summer indoors. With luggage to lug, camp to set up, and meals to prepare outdoors, camping can be a turn-off for solo parents. However, in addition to offering you a dose of the outdoors as a family, camping is the perfect solution for an inexpensive stay.
Well, it must be said that I am not REALLY a single parent. But since my spouse has atypical schedules, I often find myself doing family outings in a solo version. Soloparentale would therefore be more accurate (but really less SEO). This year, camping is a first, and I almost canceled everything by imagining myself pitching the tent at arm’s length, in a Purell party, managing a child who is choking on a marshmallow and another who heads for the river without a fleet. Almost true story.
1. Choose the right family campsite
To have a good stay, it is important that the infrastructures are the least suitable for children, so that they can have fun while you do the splits to set up the tent alone. To make a good choice of site, I advise you to consult the list of the most beautiful family campgrounds in Quebec . Vifa Magazine also offers a perfect family camping guide for parents.
2. Preparing meals at home
From experience, you are never ready enough. NEVER. The watchword is no cooking. Obviously, it distorts camping a bit not to use the little Coleman (bring him, if only for coffee!), but your family homeostasis is at stake. I’m not telling you to pack your S’ mores sous vide before leaving, but what saves my life is that everything is ready.
No wasted time doing the dishes. No stress when I hear “I’m hungry!” » and that I still have to come back from the beach like a mule crumbling under the wet towels, the sandy toys, the wet floats, the parasol whose one of the branches stubbornly refuses to bend, the paddle board (we travel light), and others pebbles-choubidou-too-cabbage that it is imperative to bring home as a souvenir. A craving, you say? Everything is ready, in the cooler!
For lunches: overnight oatmeal and chia pudding are ready in the cooler.
For snacks: I get ideas for homemade muffins and pancakes here , dish of raw vegetables and hummus, and faithful bags of crisps.
For lunches and suppers: Main course salads . My great classics are quinoa-chicken-cranberries and Greek salad with pasta. Sandwiches (which can be grilled or not!). But my best idea remains chicken or shrimp tacos (we prepare the filling at home, and we just have to heat the taco on the grill for a few seconds). We sprinkle with a dash of lime, and we are the envy of all those who eat vulgar hot dogs on the fire!
For dessert: I won’t surprise you by telling you that the toasted marshmallow is queen of the evening. But the marshmallow-not-cooked is also popular, for those who have not received the arsonist gene as a gift (hello!). For S’mores, the easy version, buy the Little Schoolboy type cookies , already topped with a layer of chocolate. A great classic for my little campers.
3. Go with friends (and their children of the same age as ours)
It’s not always possible, but when possible, it’s nice to go with friends. Especially if they have children who can have fun with yours. If we don’t put the responsibility for our offspring on their backs, it allows us to have other pairs of arms and eyes to watch over the little ones, if only for the time of a shower. No friends? Quick, get to know the neighbors next door. Note that “can I buy you an S’Mores” is a great pick-up line !
4. Involve children in the tasks
A short briefing before the big departure is ideal: we explain to the children that we cannot do everything alone and that we need help. Constance, you’ll be the site foreman. With your three years of puzzles behind the tie, you’ll be perfect for slotting the tent poles together and holding them in place during pitching. Henri, you’re in charge of the home staging : roll out floor mats and sleeping bags, find the perfect corner for the headlamps and go pick a bouquet of wild flowers that will match our tablecloth. When we’re done, we reward ourselves with a bike ride and a marshmallow-not-cooked.
5. Always have a hidden card
Always. This hidden card will be used in the event of a major crisis (rain, a big boo, a chicane, a mega-fear). The objective is to create a diversion with a game, an idea, a surprise, treats. Yes, it’s bedtime, maiiiiiis I have luminous bracelets for the night.
6. Bring these must-haves for camping
Walkie -talkies with good range (and working batteries). Depending on their age, you can leave your children alone in the tent for a few minutes while they fetch a cord of wood, or go to the toilet block (knowing that they will call you all the time if you are in the bathroom). 10-4
Bicycles . _ Best camping activity. Cars drive slowly, and campsite boundaries are usually clear enough to show children an area where they can ride independently.
A small pot , if your children are young and you are far from the toilet block. I have known 5 ½ year old children who were very happy to use it! You’ll be happy at night when you don’t have to leave child #1 alone in the tent to go to the bathroom with child #2.
Battery – operated Christmas lights (with functioning batteries) to delineate the location of the tent and stakes. When you’re a single parent, you can’t afford to get caught in a rope, fall face down in the camp and have to start all over again at dusk.
A hidden card : see point 4.
The entire checklist from our Family Camping guide.
A dose of patience , and rescue smiles .
7. Letting go of cleanliness
Yep, there’s gonna be sand in the tent, bug spray in dinner, and melted marshmallows stuck on all the clothes. But it does, single parent or not. Save your good energies for the necessary things, like starting that damn wood fire. And for messes, bring wet washcloths or wipes, paper towels, tissues. At this level, it is absolutely not recommended to travel light. Also note that each bathing day corresponds to one less shower. Anyone who has ever tried the experience of a family cleaning with more than one child in the toilet block knows full well that there is no shame in sparing this sweet moment. Even 4 days online.
8. Take the time
Hey. There’s no one waiting for you to have a glass of wine by the fire (except maybe the neighbors who have tripped over your S’mores). It’s now or never to take the time to put your children to sleep by reading stories until the batteries of the headlamp flicker, and by scratching-kissing-cuddling until deep sleep follows. Be careful, this technique may also plunge you into the arms of Morpheus. Take advantage of it, he’s the only one who will hug you tonight