Summer camp can be a wonderful experience for nearly every child if it is approached in the right way. Whether or not you had a positive experience at camp as a child does not determine what type of experience your child will have. If you follow certain steps and guidelines, you can help your child to have the best experience possible. These steps include: choosing the right type of camp, checking out the facilities and staff, and preparing your child for the “summer camp” experience.
One of the first things that you will need to do is to talk with your child about what type of camp they would like to attend. There are traditional camps, sports camps, computer camps, weight loss camps, music camps, and so on and so on. Do they have a friend that they would like to attend summer camp with? Do you prefer a co-ed camp or a single-gender camp? Are the old enough (and mature enough) for a sleep-away camp, or would a day camp be a better choice? As a parent or guardian, you will have the final say in where they attend summer camp, but if the child has a voice in the decision, it is more likely that it will be a positive one.
The next step, after you have chosen the camp, is to visit the camp, or at least have an interview with the camp director or other administrator to find out more about the camp. Ask about the camper to counselor ratio, the daily schedule, how much free time the campers have, the sleeping arrangements, and even the menu-especially if your child has special dietary needs. You can also ask about medical training and facilities at the summer camp.
Prepare your child for camp even further by telling them what it will be like. Show them the schedule. Talk about your summer camp experiences-especially if they were positive ones. Find out if they have any questions. If you know a friend or family member that has gone to the camp, have your child talk to them about summer camp. If your child has never spent time away from home, then you might want to try a practice sleep-over with a friend or family member that lives nearby.
When you pack for camp, pack a special blanket or stuffed animal, or maybe a family photo in a sturdy frame. Prepare a bunch of postcards with stamps and addresses already on them for your child to take to summer camp. Purchase a disposable camera for your child to take pictures of their experiences. Let them know that you will also be writing to them. Make sure that you assure them that they can contact you if they really need to.
Once they are gone to summer camp, write positive letters focusing on what they are doing, not on what they are missing. Let them know that you are proud of them. Give them reassurances that it is a great experience that they will never forget-and they won’t.
Eriani Doye writes articles about Home and Family. For more information about summer camp options visit dmcamp.com.