9 Tips for Getting a Toddler to Sleep in a Tent

9 tips for getting your toddler to sleep in a tent - @tipsaholic. #tent #camping #kids #summer

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Going camping as a family is a great way to create memories together and to spend a lot of time outside. It might feel scary to bring along a baby or a toddler (or both!), but you’ll have so much fun!  When nightfall comes, many parents are unsure of how to put their kids to sleep in a dark and unfamiliar tent. Here are 9 tips to getting a toddler to sleep in a tent when on a camping trip. (These tips also apply to getting a baby to sleep in a tent, too!)


1. Bring a nightlight.

A campground can be pitch dark during nighttime… how scary that must be to a little human! Try this tent ceiling fan and light; it’s great for getting a toddler to sleep in a tent because it has two light settings: nightlight and regular light. The nightlight is perfectly dim – dark enough to sleep, but not so dark you can’t see. The fan is just a bonus, though it only circulates the air, it doesn’t cool the tent.  It’s worth the price for the nightlight feature!  Another idea is to get a night light that doesn’t need to be plugged in, especially if your campsite doesn’t have electricity and you have no generator. Bonus points if it’s soft and something you can put in the crib with your kid. This SPOKA night light from IKEA is a good option.  Or consider a stuffed animal with a night light.   If you need ideas, check out the Twilight Buddies or Dream Light Pillow Pets.


2. Stay in the tent until your toddler sleeps.

Just as it does when you are trying to acclimate your child to a new crib or bed, it can take a while for him or her to feel comfortable enough to sleep on their own.  Once you leave the tent, it’s quite possible they’ll think it’s play time again!  In an unfamiliar area, it’s even more important for you to help your child feel relaxed enough to drift off, so that means you may have to stay with them until they do.  Just put your child to sleep in their sleeping bag or portable crib and lay down in your own spot.  Hopefully this will give them enough reassurance for them to nod off in no time.


3. Bring a play yard (or two).

If your baby or toddler still sleeps in a crib, a play yard (or pack ‘n play or play pen) is your best bet. It’s similar to a crib and will keep them in one spot until they zonk out. It will work even better if they are used to sleeping in one occasionally.  You may have to upgrade to a large tent in order to accommodate a pack ‘n play, but it’s worth it!  If your toddler isn’t sleeping in a crib anymore, you might still want to enclose them to help them feel safe and sleep. This enclosed bed, the PeaPod is a great option if this is the case! It’s probably not a good idea to introduce a new sleeping routine, like co-sleeping when camping if you don’t do that at home.


3. Put your tent in a shaded area.

For naps, you want the tent to be cool and not too hot or humid. If you pitch your tent in the morning, check where the sun is and it’s path.  This will ensure you find the best spot for your tent, which will aid in afternoon nap times.  Keeping your child as comfy as possible is key!


4. Recreate their beds/cribs at home.

It’s important to make sure your child has their security objects – whether that’s a stuffed animal or a blanket.  If they’re used to sleeping with certain items, don’t expect them to do will without.  BUT, on the other hand, don’t overpack either — only bring the things that you KNOW your kids will want when they go to sleep.


5. A new toy or bag with things in it.

This may sound unusual, but there’s a purpose!   If your kid does well with toys in the crib and goes to sleep with them, then try this trick. Get a small bag and put in a few things in there, maybe new toys that don’t do much or random things like a brush, a baby mirror, a DVD cover, and a card, for example, that are safe for a toddler to handle. Your toddler will dig through the bag and relax as she explores these things. Before she knows it, it’s dreamland time.


6. Get your kids excited about sleeping in a tent.

Around two weeks before you go on your camping trip, pitch your tent in your backyard – this is standard when checking your equipment for holes and leaks.  Since the tent is already set up, it’s a great idea to set up beds inside and treat it like a mini camping trip!  At first, you may want to start slow with simply nap time.  Leave the tent up for a day or two longer and work up to spending the whole night inside with your child.  That way, the tent and their bed inside the tent will already be familiar when you get to your campsite.


7. Try to stick with naps.

Follow your usual schedule and try to help your kids to nap at their usual times.  Most kids do much better when they have a set routine and will become out of sorts if too many things are changed at once.  They are already getting used to a new environment with all sorts of unusual distractions, so sticking with a familiar schedule will help.  However, don’t stress if they simply refuse naps. They’ll be ok.


8. Keep them warm.

Nights can be cold. Keep your little ones warm with several layers of fleece or wool, but don’t put them all on at once. Here’s a good explanation of how to do it!


Tenting can seem intimidating when you have toddlers or babies, but with these tips you’ll be prepared and ready to go!  What other tips do you have when getting a toddler to sleep in a tent?


For more camping tips, check out 25 Camping Ideas for Families or the Camping Kitchen Box Checklist.  Don’t miss our Packing Tips for Camping Trips.  And plan your menu with 8 Ideas for No-Cook Camping Breakfasts and 25 Delicious Camping Desserts.  Finally, have some fun with your kids and these 10 No Fuss Camping Crafts!


Featured image via Remodelaholic.


“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

How To: Camp With Kids (8 Tips for Success)

camp with kids

camping with kids title
Now that summer is here, it’s time to pack up the gear and head into the woods for a night of camping. With young kids though, a little more is involved to guarantee a successful  camping trip. With a little preparation and some advance planning, the whole family will enjoy this adventure into the outdoors. Here are 8 tips for success when you camp with kids.


1. Read a good book.

A few days before the camping trip prepare your young kids for what the outing will be like by reading a few books. Some good ones to try are S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet, Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids’ Guide, The Camping Trip that Changed America, or Curious George Goes Camping


2. Stake the tent in the back yard first.

Ease into this adventure by starting out slow. For the first excursion, keep it close to home. Set up the tent in your backyard so the kids can get used to the idea of camping, but the comforts of home are only a few short steps away.


3. Make a Check List

After a successful backyard camping excursion, the kids will be ready to venture out into the wild. Just make sure YOU are prepared, too, by making a check list.  Confirm that you have everything you need. Be sure to include tents, bedding, clothes, toiletry items, cooking supplies, food and water. Also, the list should include all things related to activities you plan to do while camping – like fishing gear.


4. Bring a first aid kit

Include a first aid kit with your camping gear, because you never know if it might be needed. A well stocked first aid kit includes medical tape, antibiotic wipes and creams, bandages, burn ointment, eye wash, hydrogen peroxide, pain relievers, scissors, snake bite kit, insect repellent, sterile gauze, sunburn lotion, sunscreen and tweezers.  You’ll feel more at ease knowing you can take care of your kids if needed.


5. Pick easy foods

Bring food that is easy to prepare. Hot dogs are always a big hit when roasted over a camp fire. And of course,  S’mores are a must have for any camping trip with young kids. Be sure that all food is stored in waterproof bags or containers and kept in an insulated cooler. Insure that food is cooked to the proper temperature. Also, bring plenty of drinking water if a reliable, clean source will not be available at the camping site.


6. Wear the right things

Dress appropriately for a trip into the woods with long pants and long sleeved shirts. Also, include a wide-brimmed hat to minimize exposure to the sun’s rays. Kids can get cold easily, so bring extra sweatshirts or jackets for cooler nights. And as much fun as it is to run barefoot through the grass, it’s best to keep shoes on the whole time since there are lots of things in the woods that can injure unprotected feet. Hiking boots are great for long walks, swim socks can be used when swimming in a lake or stream, and flip-flops are appropriate for hanging out at the camp site.


7. Be aware of potential harm

While camping can be fun, there are still a few things to be wary of.  Show young kids how to avoid poisonous plants such as poison ivy or berries they might want to eat. Also, teach them that they cannot approach wild animals or attempt to feed them. The animals might look cute, but they can be unpredictable, territorial and protective.  Go over camp rules ahead of time and reinforce them once at camp.


8. Plan Up-Past-Bedtime Activities

Of course this camping trip with young kids is supposed to be fun, so plan in advance a few activities for when the sun goes down. Flashlights can easily be used for a great game of tag. Singing or telling stories (not too scary) around the campfire are always a must for any camping trip. End the evening with some star gazing. There are always so many more stars to see away from the bright city lights.


Hopefully with the completion of a successful first camping trip, your young kids will be begging to do this get-away again soon!


Photo Source: www.bhg.com


I’m Frances. I am a mother, a wife, and a community volunteer. I work as a scientist by day and moonlight as a blogger. Making lists helps me keep everything on track. While I have a good life, there is always room for improvement. Join me as I decorate, organize, and try new things over at my blog Improvement List.

Packing Tips (for camping trips)

packing tips



Camping is a great way to create a relatively low-stress, low-cost, low-maintenance vacation.  It takes just a bit of forethought to plan, register, pack and execute a camping trip as opposed to months or more of budgeting, researching, planning, mapping and creating a more elaborate vacation experience.  Camping can help you reconnect with your family and yourself, creates lasting bonds and memories and instills relaxation and calmness to what can be an overworked, overstimulated lifestyle.  If you want to make the most of your camping trip, you’ll need to know how, what and WHERE to pack all your gear and equipment.  Follow these 10 packing tips for camping trips and take the stress out of planning your next getaway!


1. Back to Basics.

Part of the fun of camping is forgetting about all the extras in life – electronics, toys, games, equipment, utensils and STUFF – that we get bogged down with.  Get back to basics by keeping your packing simple.  Consider everything you’re planning on taking carefully and think, “Is this NECESSARY for 3 days (5 days, 7 days, what have you) away?”  Take what you need and leave the rest behind.  If you realize you’ve left something that really is essential, most campsites or state and national parks have stores for your convenience.

2. Don’t go overboard.

Over-planning is one way to stress-out any family vacation, but it also makes packing a million times harder.  If you’re going camping for a few nights, chances are you won’t have the time (or energy!) to play every single outdoor game in your garage, do every single sport-related activity, or make every single gourmet meal and campfire treat you’ve got on your “ideal” list.  Limit yourself.  Pick just a few favorite games, activities, meals and treats and save the rest for another time.

3. Become ONE with nature.

Guess what?  You’re camping, not spending the night at the Ritz.  You’re going to get a little dirty.  There will be bugs.  You’re hair and clothes will probably smell like campfire from the minute you get there.  So don’t worry about bringing a new outfit for every single day for every single person.  You won’t need accessories and tons of shoes.  You’ll probably want some soap, but don’t worry about cosmetics and the whole beauty regime.  Don’t be afraid to be RUGGED!  That’s what camping is all about.  The biggest key when picking clothes is to remember you want to be warm and dry.  Pack extra socks and a sweatshirt for everyone, along with just a few items to wear daily.

4. Make a List.  Check it twice.

Camping doesn’t require a ton of fancy gadgets or equipment, but there are some definite things you don’t want to be caught without.  To make sure you pack what you NEED and leave what you DON’T get a complete list of gear.  You can find some sample lists online.  The Packing List Place has one, as well as Love The Outdoors.  Keep in mind that any pre-made list will likely need to be altered to fit your family and your particular geographic area so look it over ahead of time, whittle it down and add on as necessary.  It’s also a good idea to make two checked columns – one you can check off for “checked and ready” and one you can check off for “packed in car”.  That way you’re covering your bases and are less likely to accidentally leave something behind in the driveway.

5. Be prepared.

Check ahead for area conditions – weather, area emergency issues that might be a problem (wildfire probability, flooding, avalanche, etc.), park or camp site maintenance issues that might affect you, etc.  The more prepared you are, the better able you will be to refine your packing list.  When you check the forecast, for example, there may be no rain indicated for the week so you can likely pare down your wet weather gear.

6. Don’t lug your luggage.

Instead of packing a different suitcase for every family member, consider packing items into plastic tubs with lids according to category.  This is perfect since they come in different sizes for different amounts of things (extra large bins like these are great for bigger camp items like lanterns, emergency radios, skillets, hot plates, camp stoves, etc. while medium sized bins are good for clothing), stack nicely together, have flat tops, are water resistant, and pack up well since they aren’t odd shapes.  They are also easy to identify by using large labels such as these or simple tape with permanent markers.  Consider using bins for clothing, cooking, food, games and activities, and weather-related gear (ponchos, boots, warm sweatshirt, etc.).

7. Pace yourself.  

Don’t plan on throwing everything together willy nilly at the last moment.  While camping can be a relatively stress-free family vacation you’re simply asking for trouble if you don’t give yourself time.  Begin packing preparations two weeks in advance.  It might seem excessive, but you’ll want to make sure all of your gear and equipment is in working order before you actually pack it away.  You’ll also want to replace lost or broken items, make sure you have the right amount of things for your whole family, and create a “map” for packing your car.

8. SPACE yourself.  

Chances are you’ll be driving to your destination, so make sure to leave plenty of room for passengers.  Crowding can make people (especially little people!) crabby!  So don’t try to cram so much into the passenger area of your car.  Use storage areas for smaller items (like the pockets on the back of the front seats for small backpacks or bags) and fill up your trunk or cargo area with clean, well-packed, boxes and bags.

9. Think outside the box.  

Utilize the space outside your vehicle as well.  This will ensure that you have ample room for your passengers inside!  While clean and sturdy boxes, backpacks and bags are great in the cargo area, you can pack dirty, cumbersome or large items outside.  Use a bike rack on the top of your vehicle and consider getting a cargo carrier for the top of your vehicle, like this one.  You can carry other large items for outdoor activities (like kayaks, canoes, folding tables, etc.) with various types of carrying racks.

10. Make a map.

A packing “map” can be super useful when planning for your trip.  Essentially, list the items you’ll need based on bin, bag, box, etc. along with WHEN you’ll need them.  Following the “first in, last out” rule, decide which items you’ll need to access right away and which can be accessed later.  Then either draw the items in a diagram or simply number and label them according to when they will be packed in the car – this way you’ll know ahead of time what needs to go where in order to not only make everything fit efficiently, but also to have what you need WHEN you need it.


Looking for more helpful ideas for camping? Try these 7 Tips for Easier Camping!


Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com