Whatever the holiday, even with children, you want to get away from the chaos of home and enjoy a relaxing time. Some people think camping is a lot of hard work. But it doesn’t have to be if you prep in advance, make life easy with limiting the cooking you do, or go with friends so the children can all entertain each other, and you’ve more adults on hand to help out. But having children on a campsite does make most parents worry about how annoying children can be to other campers.
Camping etiquette with kids
1, Bring your children up in the way you want them to behave in future.
There’s no point letting your children run riot at home and then expecting them to miraculously behave once they’re in the wilds of a campsite. It’s a long term thing, and sometimes even the quietest children can turn wild once they’re outside with freedom. But you can prep them as well as possible.
2, Set expectations in advance
Let children know in advance what behaviour is allowed on the campsite. Curfews are in place for a reason (and that’s not just for children, sometimes groups of adults camping together can be noisy past curfew time. And once you’re there, check for unsafe areas, and make sure the children know where they can and can’t go alone.
3, If there’s a curfew obey it.
Our first time camping, our children were round by the tents until the right time for open play, but some children weren’t, and there were also some children still playing out past 10pm curfew. The owner would drive round with a loudspeaker reminding people about the morning and evening curfew. It doesn’t take a lot of obey a fair time request. If you’ve an early riser, either take them for a walk somewhere til curfew, or bring something quiet to entertain them until acceptable time in the morning.
4, Don’t walk through other people’s camping areas
This is so annoying. Ok, so children don’t always knows better, and when we’re in a big group wandering across several tents in our group, maybe others then think it’s ok. But people book a tent patch and car parking space. Don’t wander through the middle of it to the other side, and certainly don’t wander through a closed off area by windbreaks or where a gazebo is. I’m amazed that people think this is ok.
5, Be aware of how noise travels at night
Last year we were on a really windy campsite. Even over the wind we could hear a snorer (2 tents away – made me paranoid as to whether my snores were loud enough to hear), and a couple in another tent getting amorous. Just be aware if you’re being noisy, or even if you think you’re not, sounds travels further in the dark and people will be able to hear you.
6, Teach your children not to take other children’s toys
We all know children don’t always clear up after themselves. But if someone’s gone off and left their bike or frisbee or whatever else on the ground, don’t wander off with it.
7, Let your children have some freedom
Of course it’s easy to say when you’re used to living somewhere rural like we are where the children can roam without coming across too much danger. But campsites are pretty safe places (as long as children know to watch out for cars). They’re usually code entry, so it’s only campers who are on site. And children muck in with each other playing games, so there’s little danger as long as they know the area and rules you’ve set. But make sure they know where they can and can’t play without disturbing others
8, Warn neighbours
If you think your children may get a bit nosy or loud, chat to neighbouring tents when you arrive
Last year we had a new family arrive 2 tents away, and they came over to say hi, and apologise in advance in case their children got too excitable. Apart from the first night where you could hear them chatting and singing away (check number 5), they were fine, but it was nice to chat to another family and compare notes.
9, Teach your children about the shower blocks and toilets
Campsites can really build confidence in children. The first year, N wouldn’t have gone off to the toilet blocks on his own, but give him a couple of visits there, and he’s fine just to tell me where he’s going and then go. It’s always more helpful when it’s a unisex toilet block so you can go and check if they’re taking a long time, but each time they can experience doing more on their own. It always feels safer than general public toilets, so it’s a great way to get children who’re used to going into toilets with parents, to get used to going on their own.
10, Clear up after yourself
Children are generally terrible at this, but on campsites, it’s more exciting to have jobs. And for them to learn that they have to look after the area they’re camped in.
Most of camping etiquette is common sense. What would annoy you if someone else was doing it? Then try and avoid doing that thing. I think a lot of it is just being aware of who is camping around you. We’ve generally found that even as a group, elderly couples camping quite like to see the children all playing together. And we’ve so far had no one come and complain about the children being annoying.
Maybe everyone just relaxes more when they’re camping….or drink more wine and so don’t really care.
What rules do you work to when you’re camping? Or what are the things you worry about your children doing when you’re on a campsite?
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