Almost all of our camping trips are with the kids, so my wife and I have got our routines down pretty good. While camping is known to be a relaxing time and a chance to get away from the norm, it’s not always that glamorous and easy for parents. Getting down solid routines while camping will go a long way in helping make things easier.
Morning routine with kids at the campsite
Short version: Pee, cereal for kids, coffee for grownups, maybe start a campfire, make big breakfast. Keep reading if you want some details!
On a typical camping trip the kids will get plenty of sun and fun all day and be wiped out by the time it gets dark. It’s rare when my 9-year old is up past 8:30pm and my 4-year old passes out around 7:30pm. That makes for some early mornings for them, and likely us parents.
It’s not so bad if you can get them used to some rules. If they have to potty, I (dad) will bear the cold and take them to do their business. Never fun at 5am. If they don’t go back to sleep they can talk quietly, play a handheld game, or watch a movie. The closer to 7am I can sleep — the better. Unless I want to catch the sunrise. It all depends on how many adult beverages I’ve consumed the night before ;). Speaking of electronic devices when camping, here are our thoughts on that.
Tent vs. Camper Trailer with kids in the morning
Going off on a bit of a tangent, but it’s necessary.
At a certain point the kids are tired of being in the tent. That’s when I get out with them, get some coffee brewing, and pour them cereal. We usually have a bigger breakfast about an hour later once I get caffeine in me. If it’s really cold out I’ll get a fire going while the kids find something to do. No video games or movies are allowed once they’re out of the tent the rest of the day.
We’ve been camping only twice now in our new-to-us Livin Lite Quicksilver pop up camper and it’s been a game changer. Having tent camped my whole life, this no-frills camper feels like luxury. One of the reasons I bought it was to make our morning and bedtime routines much easier. Since our camper has plenty of space, us parents bought ourselves about an extra hour of sleep in the morning. The kids have a table to play games, color/draw pictures, watch a movie together, and eat cereal. All without having to step foot out of the camper.
We even bought ourselves a little Camco Portable Toilet so I don’t have to leave the camper during the night/mornings when my daughter has to pee. Us boys still go find a tree or bush to handle business, or walk to the camp bathroom if we’re not dispersed camping.
My son is old enough to pour himself and sister cereal and the wife and I even have a privacy curtain so we don’t have to see them. It’s worked out great so far.
Enough about the camper. Back to routine.
Speaking of cereal, we always buy a box of those little individual cups with different types of cereal so the kids can pick their favorite. A nice break from the “healthy” cereal we eat at home. Less dishes for us at the campsite — just add milk.
Making coffee is always the first thing I do once I step foot out of the tent or camper. I’ve used many methods of brewing coffee while camping and right now is the Stanley All-In-One Coffee Press.
It’s super easy to use and makes more than one cup at a time. While I love using an Aeropress when camping, it’s annoying to have to make multiple cups for my wife and I. The Stanley press system is more efficient since it usually gets us about two cups each. Takes a little practice to make the perfect cup but it’s not hard — just about any cup of coffee tastes amazing on a cold morning outside! By now my wife Michelle knows the coffee is almost done and has made her way
Breakfast at the campsite
Oh breakfast. We love a delicious camp breakfast. I have a dedicated post about camp breakfast if you want to check it out. For mornings where we don’t have a lot planned I usually make a breakfast better than Norm’s. Sausage, eggs, breakfast potatoes or hashbrowns (we bring a frozen bag), and sometimes chorizo (we use Soyrizo).
It’s already been at least an hour since the kids ate cereal and they’ve been running around the campsite — you know they’re gonna be hungry. There’s plenty for everyone. If it’s cold out and I already have a campfire going I’ll cook over that with a cast-iron skillet. I don’t always make campfires in the morning and my Coleman propane stove handles the cooking.
If we have a busy morning planned or it’s the last day of the trip we will have boiled eggs, granola bars, bananas, or/and cereal. Sometimes my wife brings premade cinnamon roll dough and plops it into the cast-iron Dutch oven for a delicious morning treat.
Wrapping it up
By now the kids are fed, dressed, and ready for the day. In our next Camping With Kids series we’ll be talking about the kids bedtime routine.
Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments below. Happy camping!
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