For many families, summer camp is a godsend. The kids love it, it’s easy on the parents; a win-win situation for all parties involved.
But maybe your experience has been different. Maybe you’ve tried camps that your kids hated. Or you didn’t think they provided a quality program.
If you want to avoid a negative summer camp experience, keep in mind these five things that summer camp directors wish all parents knew before they signed up their kids.
1. Follow your child’s interests
Imagine if Taylor Swift got sent to a military camp as a kid instead of a musical camp. How bored and unfulfilled would she have been? When deciding what summer camp your child should attend, follow your child’s interests. If they love to paint but hate computers, don’t send them to a computer programming camp. If they love to write but hate physical activity, don’t send them to a karate sports summer camp. Yes, you want to open your child’s horizons, but you can’t force them to like something that goes against their essential self. Your child will end up miserable and hating every second of it.
2. You get what you pay for
If someone offered you a nice Ferrari for 100 dollars, you would be suspicious, right? Of course. The principle remains the same for summer camps. If a camp is free or extremely cheap, it’s likely the camp has limited resources or a less-than-stellar facility. If you want your child to have a quality experience, look for a camp that is priced appropriately.
3. Tell the camp about special needs or circumstances
Quality summer camps are run by people who are passionate about providing kids with the best possible experience. And the way they do that is by tailoring activities and communication to each child. So please don’t blindside the summer camp. Inform the staff about ALL your child’s special needs or circumstances so they can understand where your child is coming from. Whatever it is, be it dietary needs, learning delays or even that your child needs a couple extra minutes in the bathroom, inform the camp staff beforehand. If there’s something going on at home that might cause stress in a child, like a death in the family or an impending divorce, that’s useful background information for the staff as well.
4. Send enough food and drink
While there are summer camps that don’t require much physical activity, there are others like the Urban Martial Arts summer camp that are very physical. This means that your child will be more active than usual and so will need to take in more food. If you’re planning on joining a more physical camp, be sure to pack a nutritious lunch and two substantial snacks a day. It’s also important that your child always brings a water bottle so they can stay hydrated all day long.
5. If your child is tired, keep them home
Children don’t process stress the same way adults do. You might still manage to have fun or get the job done when you’re tired, but kids are not wired that way. A tired child is not a happy child. No matter what activity is organized, a tired child will NOT have fun at camp or make new friends or do any of the many things they should be doing in camp. Not only will they be miserable, but they are likely to negatively impact the other children’s experience too. There is only one cure for a tired child: keep them home so they can get some rest!
Keep these five tips in mind as you research summer camp options for your child. They will help you give your child a fun-filled summer they’ll never forget!
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