Those two words are sure to strike fear into the heart of any teenager – and probably you, as the parent.
Whether your family has teenagers, toddlers, or some mix of the two, unplugging is hard for everyone, regardless of if you immediately realize it.
For teenagers, their desire to be connected all the time is pretty obvious – and they tend to be pretty vocal about it when you tell them your camping unplugged.
But for toddlers, the change can be just as hard. They just don’t know it yet.
Bookmark these tips for your next unplugged camping trip to help everyone – toddlers, teenagers, and yourself – camping unplugged, have a great time, and come back come (mostly) unscathed:
Establish Expectations Well In Advance
As soon as you know you’re going camping, put the event on the calendar.
Our family uses a physical, dry-erase calendar that events go up on, but many families prefer the digital method to keep everyone’s schedules organized. Whatever method you prefer, put it on the calendar ASAP. Then, make sure your teenagers see it – and make sure they know you’ll all be camping unplugged.
Two weeks before the trip, remind them again that they’ll be camping unplugged, as well as 3-4 days before. Don’t berate them, just be clear and concise with your expectations for a media-free camping trip, giving them time to wrap their heads around it.
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For younger children who might be used to watching their favorite television program, cartoons on the weekend, and frequent movies, let them know 2-3 days in advance of the trip that you’re going camping as a family, and that instead of filling the time with television and video games, you’ll be hiking, swimming, fishing, and making s’mores!
The important thing to make sure younger kids know is that they’ll be having fun! Emphasize all the activities, and downplay the whole “unplugged” thing, and they should be just fine.
The second weapon in your arsenal in the battle for camping unplugged, is bringing games!
Evenings and the afternoon heat tend to be when your family is naturally inclined to seek out media for entertainment, but since that’s now allowed when you’re camping unplugged, you’ll need to fill that time – when you can’t be hiking, swimming, etc – with something else.
Enter camping games.
Simple board games will suffice, but to get the whole family engaged and excited, try offering incentives to the winner! You know what your kids like best, so use that to keep them unplugged!
Keep Hands & Minds Busy
When the weather is nicer (read: not the afternoon heat or evening darkness) it’s time to get out of the campsite and get busy!
Map out hiking trails, swim in the river, have an impromptu soccer game, flat down the river, or do any of the other super fun activities you can do when camping!
Planning on hiking? You’ll need to pack accordingly.
Camping newbies? Teach your kids some of these essential camping skills.
Oh, and make sure you’ve packed everything you need for swimming, relaxing and more.
If you need a little extra inspiration, check out this list of Fun Camping Activities (No Special Supplies Needed!)
Be a Little Flexible
Bad weather, bad attitudes, and the unexpected can (and will!) happen on each and every camping trip.
Just plan on it.
Download a kids movie to your tablet for a rainy day, and sneak the older kids’ devices into your packing as a last resort for when you’re all cooped up in side the tent, someone gets sick, or whatever else can happen.
We don’t encourage ditching the camping unplugged plan, but we’ve found that with a little grace, everyone has more fun, and is willing to do it again!
Camping unplugged is one of the best things we’ve done for our family.
If you haven’t yet, I really encourage you to stick to your gun and make a plan for an unplugged camping trip sometime this summer!
Do you go camping unplugged? Share your best tips in the comments!
Til Next Time,
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