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Tent Camping With Kids in Chilly Weather: Going to Bed Dos and Don'ts

Updated: Mar 6

Tent camping with kids in chilly weather can be a fun and enriching experience and a perfect opportunity to learn resilience and self-confidence. Making sure they stay warm and as dry as possible is essential for the experience to be enjoyable, especially when it's sleep time.

Tent camping in any season brings its own challenges, so being prepared is your best bet for happy times.


With this in mind, we have some suggestions and reminders to help you and your kids have an easy and gentle sleeping time outdoors in chilly weather.


Tent camping with kids in chilly weather


Tent Camping With Kids in Chilly Weather: Going to Bed Dos and Don’ts


Child contemplating the lake, turquoise water lake, BC

Dos


Do bring warm water into the tent.

If your kids get thirsty during the night, you can offer them warm water. A double-walled flask like this or similar will keep the water at the desired temperature without leaks.


Do bring a hot water bottle to offer extra warmth.

You can fill a plastic bottle with hot water to make it extra warm. Your kids can hug it close to their core or place it between their legs if they feel cold.


Do bring hand warmers.

It is always a good idea to go a step ahead and be extra prepared, especially if your kids prefer to sleep warmly. Keep hand warmers inside the tent and use them as needed.

 

Do bring a familiar item from home.

Some kids like to sleep with a stuffy or a special blanket. Make your kids feel at home by bringing their favourite toy or something that reminds them of home to make sleep time gentler.


Do bring favourite books.

Having a favourite story read before bed can help your kids relax and sleep better. Just keep in mind that books will also get humid and wrinkled.


Do plan your kids' bathroom trips.

If your kids don't wear diapers anymore, encourage them to go to the bathroom before going into the tent, but plan for midnight trips; perhaps you can bring a portable toilet or consider a bottle if you prefer not to get out of the tent.


Do keep a light and bear spray handy.

It is always a good idea to have a light handy in case you need to check on your kids. You can also use a glowing stick or a reading light. Bear spray should always be handy, but keep it out of kids reach.




Don’ts


Don't send your kids to sleep in the same clothes.

The best camping practices have it that you should change the clothes that you cook with so as not to attract wildlife. It is also good to sleep with dry, clean clothes to both be more comfortable and to lengthen the life span of sleeping bags. This might be the hardest part, but try wrapping a blanket around your child while helping them change clothes so they don't lose warmth. 


Don't forget to dress them in layers.

Don't forget to dress your kids in layers; it would be easier to put more layers on if they are cold but also to rearrange if they are getting too warm.


Don't forget to create a special space for your little one if needed.

Sometimes kids need an special touch to feel safe and comfortable. Our little one doesn't like it completely dark inside the tent, so we've come up with the idea, together with her, to create a cozy space within the tent at bedtime. We light up some glow sticks, forming a mini galaxy for a few minutes. We read the bedtime stories she chose, turn off the lights, and rely on the soft glow of the glow sticks to make her feel relaxed and happy.


Don't use fleece as your kids' base layer to sleep.

You can try it and see how it works for you. In our personal experience, it can get too warm and make little backs sweaty, therefore making them cold.


Don't forget to bring more blankets. 

If you are camping close to your vehicle, take advantage of that and bring more blankets if you need them, especially if you are camping on a powered site, heated blankets are for the win.


Don't seal your tent.

Always open the ventilation in your tent to keep the air flowing and avoid as much condensation as possible.


Don't bring snacks into the tent.

Some kids might like to snack during the night or want to bring some munchies into the tent, but all food should be kept away from the tent at all times so as not to attract wildlife. 


Don't be surprised if you wake up in a damp tent.

It is possible to wake up dry, but sometimes, even with good ventilation, expect to wake up to a damp tent and blankets, especially if you camp close to the ocean. This shouldn't be a problem as long as it is only the surface of the blankets and not the interior of them.




To wrap Up

Camping can be a fun way to spend some time outdoors with your kids, to enjoy some time by the beach or in the forest, and of course, it is a perfect family bonding time. It can also boost your child's self-confidence and resilience, and enjoying the chilly weather is easy if you and your family learn to be prepared, but also if you are willing to try and err as each kid is different.


As the chilly weather continues, we hope that this post will help inspire you to get out camping with your kids and enjoy this beautiful place we call home.



child walking on the beach, BC, chilly weather



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