Camping and Sleep: Tips and Tricks to Help Your Little Ones Fall Asleep While Camping

Growing up my family went camping most weekends throughout the summer and often with family friends. Looking back my parents were smart – they had their friends to socialize with and we had a blast with our friends! Now that I’ve become a mama, we’ve been camping only a couple of times. The first time we were excited but nervous and we learned a lot.  We had some camping fails! Have you gone camping with your little ones? 

One of my biggest tips is to have a dry run in your backyard! Set up the tent and try out different sleeping arrangements and what your children need to successfully fall asleep. The best part of a dry run is you can abandon the idea at 3am if no one is sleeping and run inside to your own beds. Whether you’re camping in a tent or trailer the summer sun sets much later than our children’s bedtime, so you need to be flexible on that bedtime and realize they aren’t going to sleep at 7pm like they do at home with a super dark room. Its okay to have a later bedtime and work with the natural release of melatonin at night. Remember bedtime is the golden ticket to sleep. 

Here are some tips to help make bedtime while camping smoother.

  1. Bring a bassinet or pack and play for your little one if that where they are comfortable sleeping. This gives them familiarity and comfort in a new place.  A pack and play also provides a awesome secure play area for your youngest.
  2. Get your children comfortable with sleeping bags
  3. Pack your white noise machine to drown out all the new noises around the campsite
  4. Bring their favourite lovie, blanket or must have sleep sac
  5. Stick to your bedtime routine. Yes, the time may be later but remember your milk, bath/wash, pjs, story/song and bed
  6. Place a parent between each child. Giggles, pokes, kicks are all fun and games for the first 5 minutes of bedtime but then someone always get hurt. It also gives comfort that you are close by and you can settle them easily.
  7. Go to bed when the kids go to bed. You don’t know what lies ahead in the night so get some sleep while you can. 
  8. Don’t load them up on sugar before bed. 
  9. Bring a hat for their heads if air temperatures cool down overnight. 

Tips for Naps

  1. Bring a stroller or carrier to help your little sleep on the go. 
  2. Naps may get thrown out the window if they become a struggle – they will get back on track once at home
  3. Lots of play time outside in the fresh air always makes for sleepy children

Most of all remember to have FUN! Your sleep schedule may get thrown off but that’s okay, I like to try and keep the bedtime routine consistent 80% of the time and the other 20% can be flexible. The first nights are always the hardest and consecutive nights become easier. It also gets easier the more your children camp and get use to sleeping in a tent or trailer so plan for more camping!


Reach out to your local Mama Coach for specific tips and tricks for your children! 


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