Last week I was reading some rant in one of the Moms groups that I follow, about how when parents are camping they let their kids run wild and free, without the boundaries that come in the city – and it made me laugh, because I wondered if we were in the same campground the weekend before and my kids were invading her ‘family time’ by roasting marshmallows with her kids, and ohmygoshshudder attempting to look inside their cooler.
Summer for us, goes a little like #anotherweekendanothercampingtrip. As incredible as it would be for Jamie to have the summers off of work entirely, it’s just not feasible – so in the summer, we whisk the kids out of town for kayaking trips, camping trips, weekend adventures, trail hikes and new places to explore.
At those campgrounds, those hikes, and the weekend trips – I’ll be the first to admit, we’re pretty lax – I mean, I’m team #bringbackwildhood when it comes to raising children, when you’re at the campground. Running, jumping, exploring, making their own paths through the woods, learning to solve problems and developing those skills essential in childhood development.
At Home Parenting
Olivia came home from school the other day as I was cleaning the floors for the first time in three weeks. They were sticky, I was clearly preoccupied and she told me she was going to the playground (or so she says). Me? I didn’t hear a thing, saw the snack I prepared uneaten and left on the counter and assumed she went upstairs because she knows not to go the playground or her friend’s houses without telling anyone where she was going. Five minutes later, I realized she wasn’t upstairs, she wasn’t in the house. In the span of the twenty minutes that she was gone, I was frantic because she wasn’t at her usual playground, so I enlisted the help of a couple of friends to help find her and fifteen minutes in, Jamie rushed home from work because Olivia was clearly missing. She was at the park, almost, that I checked twice. The first and second time I had checked, she was apparently inside getting a drink of water from her friend’s house. I shouted at her at the park, brought her home and made her spend the evening in her room because she wasn’t diligent about making sure an adult heard where she was going.
Me: Have you seen Violet?
Jamie: She went to the playground with Olivia
… ten minutes later friends kids that we went camping with come back
Kid: Olivia and Violet went for an adventure
Me: Cool story, Bro.
A few minutes later, Jamie and I played a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who was going to search for the kids – or who was going to start cooking the bacon for breakfast, and who was going to go find the kids. They were just past the park, around the loop, playing with sticks and trees with a friend they had just met.
Those times when they’re camping, they’re out there discovering, making friends (and s’mores) and engaging that ‘risky play’ aspect that’s so important in childhood. And while they’re discovering? It seems much less daunting when you aren’t sure precisely where your kid is at for under twenty minutes, if you’re at the campground, doesn’t it?
So, with open arms we welcome your kids to come and have s’mores – but if I’m being honest, it’s totally going to be my outgoing kids invading your campfire – because that’s how camping should be.