10 effective ways to help kids sleep while camping

10 effective ways to help kids sleep while camping

How to help kids sleep while camping is quite a difficult task. The excitement that accompanies a camping trip is usually palpable and sleep does not come easy. It is hard enough to get kids to sleep early when you are at home. Getting them to sleep while you camp is twice as difficult. They are all worked up, adrenaline and excitement keeps them highly active and this might interfere with their sleeping patterns. Some are just plain apprehensive and they usually find it difficult to sleep under a tent in the wild.

All the horror stories they might have heard of involving animals will surely crop up in their mind somewhere. You should be there to show them that everything will be alright. In this article, we look into some of the effective tips you can use to help your kids sleep while camping.

Help kids sleep while camping

1. Try maintaining a similar sleeping routine

If you already have an established routine at home, you could probably try keeping a similar one when you go camping. This might be hard though, as everyone will be wired with energy and sleep might not come easy. Camping with toddlers sleeping habits can be difficult to keep in a normal routine
You can let the kids have some time extra awake. If you are to be out camping for a number of days, let them know that they should be expected to go to bed at a specific time, although it can be difficult, especially if you are joined by family camping with you, so its important to be flexible with the bedtime arrangements.

2. Carry their normal sleeping accessories

Instead of going out to purchase new bedding for each of the camping trips try to stick with what your kids are familiar with. Carry some of their beddings from home. The smell of clothing and bed sets they are already familiar with can bring a sense of calm to them, allowing them to sleep soundly.

It’s important to always keep the baby comfortable when camping. They will not be able to sleep well at night if they do not feel comfortable enough.

Bring a camping baby carrier with you, specifically for the little one. When others are retiring to their sleeping bags, keep the baby comfortable in the carrier. These are perfect for keeping baby warm camping. Another essential is a pop up travel cot, or a baby sleeping pad, but make sure you have a netting over this to prevent mosquito biting.

3. Cut out sugars in the evening

Taking drinks or food with sugars will only lead to increased levels of energy and this might prevent the kids from sleeping well. This is great in the morning, as they will spend the day engaging in different forms of physical activities. In the evening, try to limit these sugars.

4. Keep them warm

It’s fair to assume that you are well prepared and you did your research before you ventured off to the camping trip. You know how cold it can get at night in the woods and you should be well prepared for this. Carry enough warm and dry clothing for you and the kids, its also worth investing in the correct camping gear, such as a three season sleeping bag if you are planning on going at different times of the year.

Carry enough blankets and beddings as well. Cold weather can bring great discomfort and interfere with the kid’s sleeping patterns. A heated sleeping bag would also be great in providing the warmth they seek.

5. Try out white noise

Ambient, white noise could also be a great way to make the kids fall asleep. This is especially effective if you are in campsites where other campers make noise at night, distracting the kids. You can download white noise apps on your mobile phone. White noise is good for relaxation and calming the nerves, allowing you to sleep deeply.

6. Keep the tent dark and quite

It’s important that the tent be kept dark at night. Flashes of light and too much commotion will not work towards providing your kids with the right kind of atmosphere for their sleep. You can be creative about this. There are a great number of blackout tents to choose from, which will help kids sleep.

You can use blankets to add to the darkness if there is still lots of light permeating into the tent even after zipping the door shut. If you are in campgrounds that provide camping facilities such as cabins, this would not be much of a problem. You’d just need to make sure all the windows are shut tight and the lights put off.

7. Do some practice at home

Practicing at home is advisable, particularly for beginner campers. Your kid will get comfortable with the tent and adjust with time. This will make it easier for the time you go out to do the actual camping. It would also be a great time to get familiar with your gear.

Many campers make the mistake of not testing or checking their gear before they leave the house. You need to make sure that you have a large enough tent to accommodate every family member without struggling.

8. Carry a special pillow for everyone

Waking up in the morning feeling more tired than you did when you went to sleep does not really excite anyone. That is why you need to carry special pillows for everyone in the family. The pillow will facilitate comfort and this in turn allows the kids to sleep deeply, and can be used with kids sleeping bags or kids camping bed.

Help Kids Sleep while camping

9. Carry toys from home

Many families who camp with their babies and kids find that the kids tend to sleep better when they are calm and relaxed. Familiar toys work great in calming kids and allowing them to sleep well.

If your child cannot sleep without cuddling their favourite teddy bear at home, do not expect them to sleep well inside a tent, an unfamiliar place away from home. Carry some of their favourite toys and let them take some to bed if they wish to do so.

10. Hug and cuddle the kids

Sometimes all the kids require so that they can retire is the feeling of being protected by the ones they love. Camping could be exciting for them, especially if it’s their first time. Sleeping in the woods could also be challenging and fearful in a way.

It is your duty to keep them calm and make them understand that everything is okay and you will be there with them as they sleep. Cuddle them and rock them to sleep if need be. Stay close to them and let them know you will be there all the time.

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3 thoughts on “10 effective ways to help kids sleep while camping”

  1. I love having my home comforts such as a pillow when we go away so I can see how this would work really well with kids too. Definitely a good idea to have comfy warm things around you. I don’t think we realise how cold it can get.

  2. These are really great tips for camping with kids. We’re on our second year of camping with wee ones and last year we made the mistake of expecting our toddler to be able to sleep in one of the bedroom pods by himself. This year my husband and I have decided to divide and conquer, he’ll sleep next to the toddler in one pod and I’ll be in with the baby in the other pod. That way we’re right there to sooth and cuddle through the night if needed. We can also keep a much closer eye on temperature and adapt bedding much sooner (sometimes before they even fully wake). We’ve also practiced sleeping in the garden in the tent which has really helped prepare and excite my elder son about going away in the tent for a holiday!


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