Many believe that every child should embark on a summer camp. They can be a great way for kids to learn how to better integrate and on returning you will find they have matured just a little bit more. However, the experience can often be a little traumatic and it is essential to be prepared.
Is Summer Camp Right for your Child?
On the one hand your child may just be begging you to let them go on a summer camp trip, in which case you will have to decide whether they are ready for it. On the other hand they may be the type who spends most of the summer staying at home, in which case you may feel that a little persuasion is required.
First of all, most recommend that summer programs are not really suitable for kids under eight years of age, unless of course your child happens to be particularly mature for their age. Next if your child has never spent even one night away from home you may want to pack them off to a friend’s house for the weekend to see how they adapt. Finally, ask yourself questions such as whether your child gets along easily with other kids and whether they tend to actively look for new experiences. If the answer is yes for both, then they are certainly ready for summer camp.
However, even if your child appears to be totally ready for a youth camp, they may still suffer from homesickness. With this in mind, it is essential to make one or two points before they leave. First make sure they understand exactly when they will be coming back and that you will still be there when they return. Secondly, help them to understand it is fine to have mixed feelings with regard to the vacation and make a point to accentuate the positive points of the trip.
In addition, it may be a good idea to include things in their backpacks such as a favourite toy, something that will remind them of home. It is also sometimes a good idea to include a calendar so that the child can tick off the days before they return.
What to Pack
While many of the summer camps will actually provide most of the essentials for your child, it makes sense to pack one or two essential items for yourself. First off, they will certainly need a swim suit as water sports are often a major part of summer camp programs. Next including sunscreens and bug sprays preferably those products that are suitable for kids will be the safest option.
In addition, why not include a camera for your child, although ensure it is a cheap one that won’t mean disaster if it is lost or broken. Again while the camp is likely to provide a flashlight, including your child’s own one (including fresh batteries) may be a good idea as you never know when they may need it. Finally, don’t forget to pack their toothbrush.
Ben Scriber writes regularly on the subject of travel for a wide range of related websites and blogs. His focus remains that of family activity holidays and he has also spent time helping at a youth camp in developing their summer programs.