Suddenly, we’re at the end of August and I'm nowhere near ready to give up the summer no-routine-routine. The long, warm and sunny days by the water. Treading lightly through the forest and looking closely at bugs and the smaller things that it seems only children can see. Or, just hanging out at the playground with the kids. We’ve been spending all of our days outdoors and have the mosquito bites and tan lines to prove it (despite protective clothing and sunscreen).
The ordinary days have been just as enjoyable as the days that we’ve gone on a family vacation or day trips. For me though, going camping has been a highlight of my summer (I’m not sure that my husband feels the same way). I haven’t camped since before I had my first child. The timing just never seemed right and I had a million excuses (mostly, fearing the lack of sleep) to remain in the comfort of my home. Finally, though, after years of staying home with the babies I decided to go. We loaded up the three kids, one family sized tent, a foldable cot for the baby and off we went. Not surprisingly, it was so much fun and I really don’t know what I was afraid of before!
For families, camping comes with a slightly different set of rules than at home. What chores are the children expected to do and what can the kids safely do on their own? Our most strict rules pertained to fire safety and always being with a parent at the lake. We were a lot more lax about our two girls wandering around together to explore the campground and meet our neighbours. Similarly, Cup of Jo recently, spurred by the New York Times article, Motherhood in the Age of Fear by Kim Brooks, posted about the age at which children are allowed to navigate small parts of their community alone or do a simple task on their own. The comments that this article generated were thought—provoking and insightful. They really hit the cultural heart of parenting. At the time of writing this, over 600 people around the world had chimed in to give their opinions. What do you let your kids do on their own and at what age?
While camping, it is a rite of passage to make a s’more over an open fire. Sandwiching a perfectly toasted marshmallow between two graham crackers while balancing a square of chocolate. The chocolate, slightly melty in the first bit. The graham cracker providing the crunch. The marshmallow squishing out the sides and binding everything together. I carefully watched my five year old toast her marshmallow and then helped her assemble the s’more and thankfully, my three year old understood that it wasn’t her time just yet. Read More