We finally decided to take the plunge and go camping as a family. We didn't even have sleeping bags until last week! At first I was going to write a post on how to pack and all the practical things that went into taking a family of five camping and trust me it would be a long and helpful post I'm sure - but I really learned a lot about myself on this trip and it wasn't all pretty.
1. I'm not as patient as I thought I was. This was the kids first time camping and the first 24 hours were great. The last 24 hours not so much. A lot of whining, fighting with each other and "I'm bored" talk. I probably should have had them bring a bit more to play with. We only brought a soccer ball and ring toss...but my reaction to all the complaining wasn't the greatest. I wanted to have some peace on the vacation and it was difficult for me to empathize with how not having an ipad or TV for two whole days (gasp!) might affect them (and we are a low tech family!) Although it was probably the lack of hockey net and sticks that had the biggest impact, not the lack of iPad.
2. I'm not the best communicator in the world. This is a tough one for me to admit being a former professional communicator for a living. I really did not communicate to my kids the expectations I had for their behavior while camping. It would have been wise to sit down before the trip and list out some rules I expected them to follow as well as answer questions they might have had.
3. My husband is way better at camping than me!
4. I really value even more the importance of these trips -- getting out in nature together as a family and leaving the gadgets at home. I know we will go camping again, next time we will be a little more prepared and we will talk a lot more about expectations before we leave. If you want to consider all the benefits of nature for yourself and kids I highly recommend reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.
Their first time in a canoe. My husband was way better at engaging the kids in outdoor fun and starting fires and getting water and cooking and the list goes on.....