With everyone being cooped up for months, it is time to get outdoors! For Families with Autistic Children, these Camping tips are gold! Keep reading to find out how to make your next camping trip amazing for your children with Autism.
Camping with children already requires a lot of work, but the challenge is more apparent if you’re camping with a child with autism. You must put your extra effort on everything: from the pre-trip preparations up to packing up post-trip. However, it is essential to point out that all these efforts are worth it, as being out in nature is holistically beneficial to an autistic child.
Top Tips for Camping with Autistic Children
Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to shoulder all that effort yourself. In this article, we are going to share with you our tried-and-tested tips to make your family camping more enjoyable and logistically easier, even with an autistic child.
Prepare the Right Camping Equipment
The first thing that you should prepare is your gear. You must be ready for any weather that you’re expecting. Regardless of the weather, though, remember that forest grounds can still get damp, primarily due to the early morning dew. That’s why we always recommend bringing tarps as additional floor protection within your tents.
What a lot of people do not realize is how functional tarps are in camping. Aside from giving an extra dry layer to put your sleeping bags on, it can also serve as an impromptu tent and hammock, if needed. In fact, with enough survival skills, you can even use it as a rain catcher to collect water for drinking!
Choose the Right Location
We don’t want things to get so out of hand that would require you to collect rain to drink, though. No. That’s the worst-case scenario. Fortunately, there’s a reliable way to prevent that from happening, and that’s by choosing the right location to pitch your tent in. Here are some factors that we want you to consider:
- There must be a bathroom nearby, or at the very least, a source of clean water. We don’t know about your child, but when ours need to go, she really needs to go. Hence, a proper location to do her bathroom breaks must be a quick sprint away.
- There must be ample shade. Here’s another factor that can be unbearable for children with autism: heat. Hence, we always make it a point to choose a pleasantly shaded spot.
- Plus points if you have access to electricity. We know, most of you would probably consider having electricity pointless when going camping, but having the chance to let our child enjoy screen time while we do our chores is priceless. It also allows you to bring some comforts of home with you like a fan and his favorite nightlight.
- Finally, we want a relatively flat area and far away from real safety risks like an active wildlife zone, a cliff, a raging river, and the like. A flat surface also prevents anyone from tripping accidentally over that can lead to injury.
This leads us to our next tip. You must always prioritize safety when choosing your location. Aside from that, though, there are other things that you can do to minimize certain risks.
For instance, we always let our child wear a tag that bears his name, our name, and our contact number. If you can equip your child with a GPS device like Angelsense or even a watch that has a tracker linked to your phone, then the better.
Also, Don’t forget to take a snapshot of your child every time he changes clothing. This will prove helpful in case of an emergency. You have an updated photo to show people.
Plan Fun and Interesting Activities
Yes, the biggest risk is having your child wander off. That can easily be prevented with an enforced buddy system. However, an easier way to avoid that is to keep him interested instead. Plan fun activities that you think won’t push him too far outside his comfort zone.
One of our families’ favorite outdoor activity is doing is playing “I spy” and other classic games. We go looking for different items found in nature and discuss the scientific facts about them. Another fun game we do is this Kid’s Scavenger Hunt. It makes creating a scavenger hunt so much easier! Plus, you get a chance to play without knowing what items you will need to search for either.
Communication with Other Children and Friends
Or better yet, take friends and family with you. Having extra pairs of eyes and hands makes the entire tip significantly safer and more enjoyable. Just make sure that they are people that your child finds fun and comfortable to be around.
Camping Cooking Tips for Families with Autistic Children
We honestly only have two tips when it comes to camping cooking:
- Plan meals that are easy to prepare and something that will give your child a sense of home.
- Have an adult supervise him at all times, especially when you’re near the campfire.
So you see, camping with an autistic child doesn’t have to be too challenging. By keeping the tips that we have shared with you in mind, we’re sure that the entire trip will go smoothly. We aim to make it so much fun that your child will bring it up himself come next camping season. Have fun!