Are you an outdoors-y family? I like to say we are, but we could do more outdoors. (Especially in the winter – none of us are winter sport enthusiasts!) This year we did some camping – first time for my girls – and spent a lot of time outdoors around town.
If you’re like me, you’re often looking ahead, trying to decide what to bring along with you when you’re planning to be outdoors for a while. Well I have years of practice taking the family all over and spending lots of time outdoors. I’ve come up with a few things to help keep your family safe and happy outdoors.
Here are some ways to keep your family safe and happy outdoors:
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Dress (or pack) appropriately
I know this seems like a really common sense statement, but sometimes I don’t dress appropriately for my outdoor activities. I’m here to tell you that wearing those sandals you love, for walking way more than you had anticipated, does not equal a fun outing.
Check the weather before you head out. Some days start out beautiful and then a cold front rushes in later and bring torrential rains. Other days start gloomy and cool, only to have the sun burst through the clouds and give you heat stroke! Knowing what the weather is “supposed” to do can help you decide on extra clothing, or dressing in layers. I’m a big fan of layers, or bringing a sweater, even in the hot summer.
Don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray. Many a summer evening has been made uncomfortable by sunburn. I burn very easily (my kids tan up a storm, but do get burns as well) so I am a “apply ANY time I am going outside for more than 10 minutes” person. I think I drive my family crazy with my “can you sunscreen my back” requests – but luckily my eldest daughter has learned the fine art of applying everywhere and she can help me out so I’m not always relying on my husband! My girls also screen each other with great success.
Bug spray is to be used as needed. Most likely in the evenings, or if you’re heading out for hike in the forest. Although spending time in my parent’s backyard sometimes requires a spray down as well!
A little forethought and an few extra pieces of clothing (or shoes) will help you stay comfortable whatever you’re up to outdoors!
This point can be a hot topic. Parents choose how much, or little, supervision their child(ren) require based on what works for them. I totally get that. You do you, but I’m still going to share a few thoughts on supervising your kids.
The number one place kids need supervision when outdoors is around water. My girls know how to swim now (at varying levels) but I’m still not convinced they know how to save themselves if they actually fall into a body of water. I will admit I don’t watch them AS closely as in the past, but I am much more hyper aware when we’re near water.
Another trick I use when we go somewhere new is to walk around the place (campground, new cottage location, family member’s home/neighbourhood) and chat about where they are allowed to go on their own (together) and where we don’t want them going without us. This usually works really well. Though then I often get Rose coming to me “Mommy! Can you come with me to *not allowed location*??” Usually there aren’t too many areas I don’t want them going to. Letting them explore new places helps them foster independence and confidence.
Something fun for kids, and a way to keep in touch when they’re out of your sight, are walkie-talkies. We have a set at home that we use sporadically with the girls. They think they’re awesome, and I love being able to stay in touch (and call them back “home” – whether that’s our actual home, a campsite, or anywhere else!)
First Aid Kits
No safety post is complete without mentioning first aid kits. Important to have on hand, and important to keep updated. First aid kits can often have antibacterial ointment or disinfectant wipes that may expire or dry out. Keeping a well stocked first aid kit can be a lifesaver – literally!
I would suggest keeping a kit in your home, your car, and with your camping (boating, fishing, swimming – any outdoor activity) gear. I was sent a really neat first aid kit that straps onto your bicycle. SJ Works makes a fun kit designed to fit your bike, so you always have it with you. It has everything you’d need for bicycle first aid.
Whether you’re travelling across the province, or around the globe, doing a little research before you go can save you some trouble while you’re there. Researching where you’re going helps you know what to pack, and what you’ll be able to find/buy while you’re there.
We went camping this summer, and I didn’t realize how close the campground was to grocery stores. I would have packed less perishables and done a short grocery shop once or twice while we were there for fresh foods. If I had only done my research…
Another great thing to check out is a travel clinic if you’re travelling to a different clime. Travel clinics can advise you of vaccines you may need for travelling to developing nations, or outbreaks of illnesses you wouldn’t otherwise know about. Search for a travel clinic near you to get the best up-to-date advice when you’re taking you’re next vacation!
Using these tips will help ensure your time outdoors is fun, not painful! I love being outdoors, and sharing that love with my family is very important to me.
How do you keep your family safe and happy outdoors? Did I miss anything obvious? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
*This is a collaborative post with SJ Works – they sent me first aid kits in exchange for mentions in this post. I would like to to sponsor a post or have me review a product, visit my Work With Me page for more information*