athomeparentingwithJoFrost2017 - 164
AT THE SITE
Put aside fears about
creepy-crawlies by getting
a tent with a sewn-in
groundsheet, so your
children can see that
bugs can't get in.
Do remember to pack a
torch - or three, as your child
is bound to lose the first one
- for after the sun goes down.
Don't assume price is a
guarantee of happiness: if
you are not going to use an
on-site shop, don't pay extra
for a campsite which has one.
Do practise putting the tent
up before you go. If they
are old enough, give your
children a specific role in this,
such as banging in the pegs
Don't expect your children
to go to sleep at their usual
bedtime - or before you do.
Private adult conversation
is a luxury you may have
to sacrifice as everyone will
probably wake up, and go to
sleep, at the same time.
as the boisterous
younger one. Choose
the tent, so you don't
wrongly, and your
have to navigate your
children won't enjoy
way around guy
themselves - and
ropes at 3am for
if they don't, you can
bet you won't either.
David Crozier, 54, from
Hertfordshire, whose son Elliott,
11, loves camping, says the key to a
successful camping trip is planning.
'Consider what facilities you need
when booking,' he says. 'If your son's
football-mad, for example, as mine is,
don't just take a football - make sure
there is enough space on site to play.
'And be prepared for the fact your
child may not actually like sleeping
outside, with owls hooting and so on
- for many it's an adventure, but some
children might find it terrifying.
'Despite that, it's good to take your
child before they reach Year 5 and go on
an overnight school trip as it gets them
used to being in a different environment.'
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YOU'RE NOT ALONE
Unlike being in a hotel, there is no
real ability to 'close the door' on
your neighbours on a campsite.
Canvas walls don't muffle sound
well so you may want to pack ear
plugs to help your children switch
off. This is particularly relevant if the
campsite allows dogs, who may bark
enthusiastically every time someone
passes by (and at night, if you're near the
toilet block, that can be very regularly).
Escaping modern life should mean
leaving electronic entertainment such
as tablets behind - but a smartphone is
useful for checking the next day's weather
and finding local attractions.
Mum-of-three Kate Harding, 44, says:
'It's a good idea to know what you can
do in the area, so if it rains, no day is
ruined - you can always go to an English
Heritage or National Trust site, or go
swimming or bowling, instead.
'If it's nice weather - and UK summers
are often better than you might be led to
believe - do outside stuff or relax around
the campsite. Other activities can wait.'
Kate, from Buckinghamshire, advises
nervous or first-time family campers
to choose a site with restaurants and a
kids club, rather than an isolated place
with basic facilities.
'Some people can cope with just having
a portable toilet and an outside tap for
washing up,' she says, 'but others want a
shower and proper facilities.'
Going camping means Kate can afford
to take more holidays with her sons
Scott, eight, and seven-year-old twins
Danny and Luke, and she thinks it is an
opportunity for everyone to unwind.
'The kids gain independence from
going to the toilet block and showering
independently. They also make friends, so
the adults get to sit and relax with a glass
of wine, with their kids being entertained
but still within sight.
'I think I talk to my husband, Paul,
more when we're camping than all the
rest of year combined.'
WORDS: NATALIE BOWEN, IMAGES: GETTY IMAGES
Pop a bucket outside