It’s what your kids have been waiting for all school year…summer vacation! When school finally gets out, kids feel sweet freedom. But then there’s the question…what will they do during the summer? Summer camp is an option to keep your kids busy. Here are a few tips to prepare them for the experience.
The idea of summer camp can be both exciting and scary. For a younger child who may never have been away from home before, it helps to explain to them what is going to happen.
Types of Summer Camps
Depending on your schedule, budget and ages of your children, there are two main types of summer camps: overnight and day camps.
Day camps allow kids to arrive in the morning and then leave at the end of the day. For that time, they are engaged in fun activities with chaperones.
Overnight camps usually last for a week at a time. Kids arrive and are settled in by parents and then leave at the end of seven days to return home. Some camps might be longer but most are around a week long.
Preparing Your Child
Sit your child down and explain to them what will happen at camp. Ask for literature from the various camps so that you can present it to them. One way to involve your child and put them at ease is to allow them to help in the selection process. Kids new to summer camps may opt for more than one kind of day camp for the first summer.
Older children or children with siblings may opt for an overnight camp. They can meet new friends or spend time with their siblings in a different environment. If the campers have any questions, contact the camp directly in enough time to get the answers and still make an informed decision before the deadline.
Here are some tips to get your kids ready:
* Know what to pack – Many camps send lists so that kids know what is allowed and what items to leave at home. This is true of day camps and overnight camps. Pay special attention to what is said about medications. If your child has a daily medication, it will most likely be left with the camp nurse to be administered there.
* Discuss camping – Your child may alternate between misgivings and excitement. During those times of misgiving, encourage them with talk about all of the exciting things they will get to do. This is one reason to let the child assist in the decision. They can choose a camp that is full of their interests.
* Give a lifeline – No matter where the camp is, you are just a phone call away. This reassurance may be what the camper needs to brave the week away from you. Even if they call in the middle of the night, encourage them to continue instead of offering a “get out of jail free” card.
Summer camp can be both fun and frightening. Preparing well for the experience can go a long way to reassuring your child.