Experiences, anecdotes, tips, how-tos, hiking, nature, motherhood, memories.

Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Keeping the Peace with Schedules

Yes, camping is all about family togetherness. Yes, you need to coordinate schedules to achieve this. But sometimes just a few extra schedules can mean the difference between a peaceful trip and one filled with antacids.

"You sat there last time!" the children would whine. And the parents would cringe.

Rotating schedules can help alleviate parental indigestion and prove to siblings the fairness of parental placement whether it is who sits where on the drive to camp or at the dinner table or who helps out at meals. Whatever the children are arguing over determines the number of schedules needed. We required seating placement schedules for the road and meals, clean-up team schedules for mealtime, and which sister slept by herself on the smaller dinette bed in the new tent trailer schedules. These rotating schedules don't need to be complicated diagrams or crammed calendars. A simple seat, table, or bed designation with a name list in a pocket notebook or a pocket calendar with initials will do.

As for dish and dinner duty, let the children choose their teammate. Of course, a parent is linked as a supervisor to be sure the tent trailer stays in tact and the food is in fact edible. Keep the list and/or calendar in the same spot so that the children know where to find proof of arrangements, if needed. I kept the car seating schedule in the glove box and the table/clean-up arrangements in the silverware drawer of the tent trailer. My journal came in handy as the official record of who, which, and when.

As the children matured, I relinquished control of the lists and calendars to them to keep track. This helped the children with responsibility, reading, writing, and communication skills as each child had a turn in completing the schedules and relaying them to the family.

Sometimes even family togetherness needs a little scheduling to become peaceful.