Summer is approaching and parents are making preparations to send their kids to camp. Whether your child is going to a classic outdoor camp, drama camp, soccer camp, or clown camp, most of the issues you need to be concerned about are the same.
Sleepaway camps often provide a checklist of physical items to bring. But these checklists don’t include some of the things parents have learned from experience—things that can help make your child’s camp experience a safer and happier one.
Secrets to promoting a positive summer camp experience
Here are some practical summer camp tips you probably won’t see in glossy camp brochures:
1. Pack extra swimwear
Time after time, children return from overnight camps with the same complaint—that they didn’t have enough swimwear. Swims suits get lost under beds and in locker rooms. They get stashed away, still wet, and begin to mold. They disappear as a result of mischievous pranks.
Chances are, your child will thank you if you pack more swimwear than you think they’ll need.
2. Send multiple sunblock options
To be well protected against harmful UV rays, children should use sunblock on any exposed skin. Some children may find that spray sunscreen is great for their arms and legs, but a roll-on stick is better for the face. For children that resist sunscreen, hats and sun shirts can provide significant protection. You may need multiple products you want your child to be protected from head to toe.
3. Prepare your child for the experience
Show your children photos or videos of the camp they will be attending so they will be emotionally prepared. This can help prevent homesickness.
4. Make sure your child is current on vaccinations
Not all camps will diligently check campers’ vaccination records. Take the initiative yourself to help keep your children safe and make sure they are fully vaccinated. Seattle-area residents can get caught up on vaccinations quickly and easily at CareClinic, in one of eight Bartell Drugs locations. If you’re outside of the Seattle area, other retail clinics may be a good option.
5. Talk to your child about bullying and peer pressure
Camp isn’t always all fun and games. Sometimes lessons learned at camp are through tough, character-building experiences. Prepare your child for the possibility of bullying and peer pressure, and teach her or him to respond maturely by speaking with a camp staff member about the problem.
6. Teach your kids to stay hydrated
A recent study found that more than half of U.S. children are chronically dehydrated. Send your child to camp with a large water bottle and encourage them to drink a full bottle daily.
7. Make sure camp staff understands any special health needs
While camp forms may ask information about your child’s health status, it’s worth an extra step to make sure staff are fully aware of any health concerns. If your child has a health issue that camp staff should know about, get in touch with the camp director. Examples of health issues that warrant a talk with the camp director include epilepsy, food allergies, bed wetting, and mental health
8. Get a camp physical the easy way
Nearly all overnight camps will require a camp physical. But you don’t need to schedule a time- intensive visit with a doctor for something as simple as a camp physical. If you live in the Seattle area, go to CareClinic and a get a camp physical for just $50.
While many parents are nervous about sending their children to camp, summer camps can be a memorable, life-changing experience that helps kids become more confident and discover more about who they are. Empower your child to have to have the best possible camp experience by looking beyond promotional materials and standard checklists when preparing for overnight camp.
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