Summer camp is the quintessential childhood experience you want your children to enjoy. Even in today’s busy digital age, summer camp’s popularity continues to grow with more than 14 million children in attendance each summer.
Summer camp experiences range from day camps to sleepaway camps, with camps of all shapes and sizes focused on dance, hockey, drama, computers, surfing, and more. As summer camp time fast approaches, there are a few items parents need to know!
Is Your Child Ready for Camp?
Before you start making plans, choosing camps, and packing your kids gear, make sure your children are ready for a camp experience. Many kids start attending sleepaway camp as young as seven, but not all kids are ready at that point. If you’re thinking of sending your child to sleepaway camp, make sure your child is able to spend the night away from you and has the skills needed to manage without mom or dad in everyday life. Also, when discussing camp with your child, make sure they understand what it will truly be like and not the victim of misconception based on movies and television.
How do You Choose the Right Summer Camp?
Now that you’ve determined your kid’s readiness for camp, your search for the right camp should begin with ACA (American Camp Association) accredited camps, like Camp Live Oak. ACA accredited camps have met the 300 plus standards for safety, health, and quality of programming and can be searched by region, activities, accommodations, costs, special needs, and more. Start by narrowing down your choices based on your child’s personality, interests (exposure to lots of new activities or focus on one main interest), and needs. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few options, visit the camps if possible or call to speak with the director. Ask questions to help you make the best choice for your child. Some questions to get you started might include:
- Is the camp accredited?
- How are counselors trained?
- What is the counselor to camper ratio?
- What safety/medical protocols are in place?
Before you make the final decision, talk to your child and take him or her to visit the camp, if possible. Always trust your instincts when making the final decision about the camp to which you are entrusting your child.
How do You Prepare Your Child for Camp?
You want camp to be a fun and exciting experience for your kids and preparing them for the experience can help. Make sure you children understand it will be a different routine, they will be making new friends and learning new skills. Taking the time to talk about any questions or concerns your child might have will help as will building their confidence for the upcoming camp adventure. If your child has been to camp before, talk about what went well and what might have fallen short, discussing ways to make the entire experience better this year. Don’t dwell on how much you’ll miss each other, but instead, tell your child how excited you about his or her upcoming camp adventure and all the amazing activities he or she will have.
How do You Know What to Pack for Camp?
As camp time approaches, your camp will send a list to you which will include what your child needs to bring (soap, towels, shampoo, etc.) and what needs to be left at home (electronics and the like). Follow the packing list and the rules of the camp, to make settling in at camp easier for your child.