If you’re in your 30s or 40s, have a few kids, and love to see new places, then RV camping might be right up your alley – if you haven’t already tried it. Here are some of the main benefits of camping for kids and parents.
Healthy lifestyle. Families who camp are living a healthy lifestyle. Kids learn from their parents about being outside, being adventurous, being reliable, and being flexible. These are important life skills for any growing mind to acquire… plus it gives us parents a chance to practice them. Being outside and among nature are healthy habits. Hiking, biking, fishing, birdwatching, swimming are all activities that can be done all through life, activities we may not be able to enjoy as much as we would like on a regular basis. Share your love for the outdoors and introduce the kids early; they will continue to embark on such pursuits as they get older.
There are scientific benefits for your health, too. According to Forbes, “studies have linked spending time outdoors to better health outcomes like lower blood pressure and heart rate, and better immune system function… studies show that even just 20 minutes per day spent in nature can lower stress hormone levels, boost self-esteem and improve mood.” Other benefits include reduced anxiety, better cardiovascular health, increased focus, and improved creativity.
Appreciation of nature. Being outside, whether it’s an active pursuit or not, gets kids to appreciate nature. They learn that nature is alive and essential to our life on earth. The various seasons enlighten their minds to the diversity, splendor, and beauty of nature’s cycle, such as spring blossoms, summer insects, and autumn leaves.
Kids also naturally want to care for things, provided the right instruction is given. If taught to appreciate nature, they will help be the keepers of nature. There are dozens of programs hosted by Michigan state parks as well as several nature centers across the state that will help encourage and instill this education.
Exposure to science. The options are limitless when it comes to outdoor learning. Kids and parents can learn about creature habitats, creature lifecycles, eco-systems, native and invasive species, growth cycles… the list goes on. Binoculars and a notepad are pretty much all the kids need to go out exploring and observing the world around them – and to ask questions and work to discover the answers.
Increase self-confidence. Nature can seem scary at first – unknowns, different sounds, total darkness. Yet when you truly live with nature and appreciate it, you get to know nature until it becomes an old friend. In turn, trying new things and seeing new things boosts confidence in everyone.
Even tasks surrounding getting the campsite organized and the RV in order increases confidence and a child’s sense of contributing to the family. As we learn through experience and teach our kids along the way, we grow in confidence, too.
Detox from technology. Most of all, going camping lets us let go of technology and return to what’s really important: the relationships right in front of us. We’re spending an average of five hours a day on our smartphones and checking them more than 60 times a day. We don’t need to look up something the moment we think of it, we don’t need to check work email, we don’t need to see the daily news or check in on social media to let everyone know how we’re enjoying our time together as a family.
Honor the time your family has together without those distractions. Go without the movies, the games, the ease of information. Yes, you should have a phone and a charger available for communication, for emergencies, and perhaps for use as a GPS – but that’s it! Parents set the tone and lead by example. You’ll feel your stress level go down and your optimism go up. Kids, especially after a year of virtual learning, will appreciate the break from the screens.
Relax and unwind. The best memories are made when we are uninhibited. When we are relaxed and away from the pressures of the world. In a way, camping provides families with a near-soundproof bubble. Don’t you agree that we are the most fun when we don’t feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders? Kids young and old have the most fun when their parents focus on spending time with them. Choose activities that the kids enjoy, but introduce new experiences, too.
Life pace while camping is a much slower pace, and although sometimes the days may feel like they drag on (especially if there are teenagers), that’s the beauty of camping in the first place. Relax, unwind, and enjoy.
RVs give parents and kids a chance to connect and relax, as well as build memories and learn to work together. Will you hit the road this year?