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so I took your advice on here and tried camping

(7 Posts)
clangermum Wed 31-Aug-11 15:32:00

and it was great. What everyone said about children being tolerated much more easily and enjoying the freedom was all so true. It was great to watch my two making friends and having the chance to run off all their energy. Playdates can be difficult for lots of reasons, but they had no problems at all while we were away and playing outside in the communal areas was much easier for them to cope with somehow.

The only problem was us really. We were in the main field in sight of the playing equipment so a lot of the time they were within sight, but could just get on with it. There was a lot of palling up with people and going off to see their tents or bringing them back to see ours. This was all fine - I got the impression that families who camp regularly are relaxed about this and used to not seeing their children for hours on end. The children just seem to get on with it, appearing back when they're hungry, and the site was secure. I can trust ours to not go anywhere they shouldn't, and didn't want to say stay in this field only as they'd often befriend someone on the play equipment and get invited back to their tent which may be in field 3 or wherever. So one minute they'd be in sight and the next they'd gone, but would come back. It was weird trying to be relaxed about it. Camping really is different! dh jokingly said we need to get them something like walkie talkies next year, so we don't have to fret about them being lost when in actual fact they've just discovered a friend in the next field not only has a caravan but a telly, and have been sitting watching it happily for half an hour while dinner was finally ready. In the moment they don't remember to come back and say just popping to x's. The site was huge and the areas had lots of hedging inbetween, so if they weren't in our field we had no idea where they were. But the main advantages of this holiday were the freedom it gave them and the socialising. Does anyone else have anything like walkie talkies? I'm thinking of something small that would clip on a belt and not be too obvious.The novelty value might just make them use them.

AlysWho Wed 31-Aug-11 15:50:23

We've used walkies talkies for our NT children wen they were little! We go camping as a group of friends quite a lot and its a good 'best of both worlds' thing as you say, the kids thought they were cool. Have to remind them to keep hold of them tho! Mobile phones of course now they're older.
My DD, asd, needs constant supervision so its not an option for her, but thats fine. Ground rules might work? they tend to learn them in THE end! eg if you're leaving X area, then tell me first; stay with your brother/sister/friend; dont EVER leave the site/ field/area of site we're on.. etc etc
We love camping, its our one chance to get away. DD hates hotels etc, but we have our own caravan, and so its home on wheels. Depending on how social she's feeling she can either stay in and watch DVD's, watch people from the doorway, with associated running commentary about what they're doing/wearing!, or actually come out and play! x

moosemama Wed 31-Aug-11 17:13:47

I don't have them, but I noticed a family at the festival I went to who all had walkie talkies. The children had them around their necks, so they weren't in any danger of losing them and it seemed to be working a treat. Mum and Dad just checked in every now and again to see where their dcs were, arrange meet ups and call them back for food etc and it meant they were able to have lots of freedom to enjoy all the kids stuff on offer rather than Mum and Dad standing watching them and missing all the good music.

I was rather impressed, although I still don't think I'd be confident to try them with my two (ds1 9 - AS, ds2 7 - nt) just yet.

moosemama Wed 31-Aug-11 17:15:56

The ones they had looked a bit like these and certainly seemed to have a good range.

Ineedalife Wed 31-Aug-11 17:31:13

Really glad you had fun clanger.

We love camping and are off again tomorrow. Dd3 rarely makes friends with DC's in the park but she does love to go riding round the site on her bike and often plays in the park.

We have to have a rule about not going to others tents because she often makes friends with adults!!

My friend who has 2 NT Dd's but is very nervous about letting them out of er sight uses walkie talkies, her girls love them and they have given them some freedom when camping.

clangermum Wed 31-Aug-11 19:18:19

Ooh they look good moosemama. I guess the belt clip would allow them to be worn around their necks. I think if we had something like this then ground rules would be fun to stick to.

AlysWho - we also found the people-watching great - always something to interest them, lots of conversation, ready-made entertainment. And having all their familiar things from home really helped. Next time they'll know exactly what the tent is like to sleep in - before when we hired cottages it was always too 'strange' I think, they never really relaxed. And the anticipation wasn't always pleasurable for them either. Lots of questions about where the cottage owner was, when were they coming back etc.

And I was surprised by the number of children with bikes, Ineedalife. That's the next thing on our list - a bracket for the car. With all the money we'll save I think we'll treat ourselves to some new kit each year.

Ineedalife Wed 31-Aug-11 22:17:41

I agree about building up your kit each year clanger.

If you think about how much you save going camping you can afford to buy a few new things at a time.

The area where we go on hols charges roughly £700 per week for a cottage where as we have just paid less than £200 for a weeks camping.

If you don't tow a trailer I would recommend getting a towbar and a towbar mounted bike rack. They come with lights and theres no lifting the bike on to the back of the car. We love ours and take bikes everywhere.

Agree about people watching too, its great fun isn't itgrin.

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