General Toddler Information
Children of this age are typically extremely easy to travel with. At home, you may normally find the constant running near cars etc quite tiring but in the great outdoors this will not even be a factor of concern (provided you have no other convoy vehicles to worry about). By giving your child a total free reign at camp you may find she'll never stray more than 30m away and never head off out of sight. Most kids have a natural caution and there is merit in letting your child find their natural limitations in such a unique situation. Your concerns are of cause warranted if your child sees their first dingo and runs towards it saying "dog!".
The wide open spaces and soft sands of the desert make it the most ideal playground for toddlers. We usually combine photo stops or sightseeing with snack stops to make each stop a worthwhile play stop too. Concerns about wildlife dangers are not terribly realistic in the desert where most wildlife is nocturnal.
We found that by giving kids a special job to do when arriving at camp gives them something to look forward to and alleviates any concerns about them wandering aimlessly whilst parents frantically erect the tent. If the kids have been couped up in the car for hours, it's only obvious that they will need some physical activity and a chance to explore their new surrounds.
Surprisingly, even a child as young
as 19 months old will love to "help" collect the firewood and to construct the fire place. Your child might even like the responsibility for a special tent pole at every camp setup - kids love routine, and at this age they are very eager to be involved in adult jobs. Whatever you do, make the journey fun and create your own memories to share as bedtime stories for many years to come.
I tend not to bathe my children in water tubs every night. For remote area trips, water must be conserved for drinking so you need to limit bathing. To clean up just before bed you can boil the billy for coffee and spare the surplus water for soaking a facecloth. You can make a nice bedtime routine by taking your toddler quietly into the tent/camper/van and laying her on a towel on a bed. You can then give your child a full warm sponge down, apply sorbolene, clean nappy, and a beanie before putting on fresh pjs and socks then snuggle down together for bedtime story - sounds just like home doesn't it, and why not? Also, consider a first aid
kit for those unforeseen little mishaps. Please read our First Aid
article for more information.
Having a small table of their own is ideal for a toddler as it gives a solid surface for drawing and playdough cutting. Playdough can be kept in an airtight container and although it will eventually get a bit dirty and dry it will probably remain useful for the duration of the trip.
Overall, this age group love exploring and learning, and it is easy to keep them occupied. You may be surprised to see how interested your child will be in fossicking around ruins, or collecting shells along a beach. Best of all, many young
children will sleep when driving and may even slot back into 2 daytime naps like a baby, even they have only 1 at home. If this happens, simply adjust your daily driving routine.