Summer camp is critical for a child’s growth. Apart from developing confidence, summer camp helps children engage in new activities, learn new skills, make new friends, and become independent. Summer camp is one of the best ways to let your kids enjoy the outdoors. However, attending a sleepaway camp can be frightening, more so for first-time campers. In this article, we shall discuss:
- Determining your child’s preparedness for sleepaway camp
- International summer camp preparedness tips for kids
- International summer camp preparedness tips for parents
How to Determine Your Child’s Preparedness for Sleepaway Summer Camp
Children develop at a varied pace, and there is no particular age when a kid is fully prepared for camp. Leverage the following tips to determine how ready your child is for the camp experience.
·They can Maintain their Hygiene
Camp supervisors and counselors will have to remind kids to take showers and brush their teeth. However, kids should be able to do these tasks on their own. While summer camp teaches kids a wide range of life skills, kids should already possess some essential skills like showering alone.
·If the Kid has Attended Sleepovers Successfully
Has your child been at a sleepover away from home, either at a relative’s or friend’s house? At the end of the sleepover, consider discussing the experience both with them and their host.
Did they have fun? How long did it take them to adjust to the new environment? Did they sleep well? Were they anxious or relaxed? If they had a great experience and have been to several playdates or sleepovers successfully, they are ready for a sleepaway camp.
·Your Child is Asking to Go Camping
If your Kid had been attending day camp, they will know when they are ready for more challenging adventures. When they ask for permission to go to sleepaway camp, you do not have to wait for any other sign. Still, some kids will need more encouragement from their parents to want to attend sleepaway camp.
Be on the lookout for your child’s reaction to the mention of International summer camp. Are they afraid or excited to engage in the adventure? If they are scared, then consider the tips in this article to encourage them. If they are excited, you can start planning for their summer camp trip.
·Your Kid Shows Interest in Learning New Fun Activities
Summer camp presents kids with different fun ideas that help them try new activities. Does your Kid engage in new activities with excitement and open-mindedness than fear? That is an excellent sign that the child is ready for sleepaway camp.
· If the Kids can go to Sleep Comfortably with the help of Babysitters
Do you always put your child to bed? They may struggle during their first day in international summer camp. However, if your child is used to going to sleep on their own or with the help of babysitters, they will have a smooth experience. Remember, bedtime is one of the most stressful moments for children when they are away from home.
According to author and family psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish, “Separation from Mom and Dad is the primary key psychological and emotional benefit for children and parents going to sleepaway camp.” Being assured of their comfort when they are away from you means they can cope with the counselors at the summer camp with ease.
International Summer Camp Preparedness Tips for Kids
Here are tips to help kids prepare for an upcoming international summer camp adventure.
· Know when Summer Camp Kicks Off
Once you and your guardian or parent choose the best summer camps, ensure you understand when it kicks off. Doing so helps you monitor the amount of time you have left before you can start packing. Request your parents for a constant countdown in the living area so that you can have a daily reminder of the upcoming trip.
· Take Good Care of Yourself
While at summer camp, you will need to be highly responsible. You will have to look after your stuff and your hygiene. Camp counselors may remind you often, but remember, taking good care of yourself will be your responsibility. You can prepare in advance by asking your parents for tips on how to be independent.
Start with simple tasks around the home like making your bed or clearing the dining table. Going away for sleepaway camp can be both exciting and scary. You may want to practice by going for a sleepover at a family or friend’s house first. That experience will help you develop essential organization and social skills. You will also learn how to manage your belongings.
· Take Part in the Parking Process
Start collecting your belongings early in advance. Your parents should have a packing list from the camping facility. Be sure to follow the list together with them, and do not forget essentials like bug spray, and sunscreen.
Pack lots of play clothes so that you can have enough pieces to change as they will get dirty fast. Consider other components that you may need for an unforgettable camping experience and request your parents to include them in your packing list.
When you participate in the packing process before going camping, you will learn how to do it when going back home after camp.
· Be Vocal about Things you are Anxious About
Being anxious about attending an international summer camp for the first time is expected. You may want to share what you feel with your parents and listen to their advice. Consider talking to your peers who has attended an international summer camp before.
Instead of keeping your anxiety to yourself, consider voicing it out. Talking about your feelings with people gives you a basic understanding of what you should expect from summer camp.
As a result, you will be more prepared for the encounter. Acquiring more knowledge about international summer camps will make you feel better.
· Remember Summer Camp is all About the Outdoors
You will spend most of your camping time outdoors, which will expose you to severe sunburns. You do not want to miss out on the fun camp activities due to severe discomfort. Request your parents for sunglasses, enough sunscreen, and hats for optimal protection. When you have to rest at the camp, do so under the shade or indoors away from direct sunlight.
· Follow the Set Rules while Having Fun
When you finally get to the summer camp, remember to be responsible enough to follow the set rules. Unlike the school year, summer camp can be fast-paced and different. While you may feel nervous on the first day, you will get used to it as you interact with your peers.
Strive to try various summer programs and activities you have never engaged in before, like outdoor picnics, fun crafts, and theater. Try new interests and get answers to all of your questions from your camp counselors.
Getting dirty is good during summer camp. Be yourself, make as many friends as you can, and remember the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.
International Summer Camp Preparedness Tips for Parents
Here are tips to help parents ensure their campers are ready for an unforgettable summer camp experience.
· Visit Your Physician as Soon as Possible
Once you receive the summer camp welcome letter, packing list, and medical forms, it may appear like you have a lot of time to prepare. However, there is hardly enough time to get well-organized.
If your child requires a physical examination before attending camp, try to book an appointment as soon as possible. If they only need their health forms signed by a doctor, have them signed immediately and send them back to the camp.
If the camp prefers the medical information delivered on the first day of camp, file the report well. Doing so helps you remember where the forms are. Always buy your child’s essentials early in advance.
· Advocate for Independence
While giving your kids more independence can be scary, encouraging them to engage in activities that promote independence before camp is critical. Focus on what is positive, follow up on their progress a day at a time, and reward them accordingly.
Adopt the idea that the child will be at camp longer and avoid mentioning that they will grow homesick. Instead, please encourage them to give the summer camp experience a try from a positive perspective.
You can even promise to consider sending them to the next summer camp if they behave appropriately. Fulfilling your commitment will enhance your child’s self-esteem and give them a sense of responsibility.
· Maintain Calm and Positive Conversations
Avoid talking about homesickness in front of your young people, and always maintain positive conversations as you pack. Remember, your child will be watching you and may misunderstand any tension that you demonstrate. You do not want them to develop negative thoughts about international summer camps.
· Visit the Camping Site in Advance
Where possible, try and visit the campsite ahead of the official event. As a parent, you do not want to be constantly asking yourself: Is my child safe? Ask all the questions you may have about the camp when you visit. If visiting the campsite is impossible, try to browse through their social media platforms or website for more insight.
· Observe the Packing List and Involve Your Kids
Start packing early in advance and include play clothes that kids are not afraid of staining or ripping. Consider labeling your Kid’s belongings, especially if you bought them specifically for the trip. Doing so helps kids remember and monitor their stuff carefully.
Pack extra undergarments, t-shirts, and socks and include the proper gear for sun protection. Involve your child in the packing process so that they can learn how to pack without your assistance.
Ensure that their bag is easy to carry together with any other belongings they should bring along. Remember, summer camp is an excellent way of helping kids reduce screen time, and some devices are forbidden. These include MP3 plates, electronic games, and cell phones.
· Observe Arrival and Departure Time
Whether you are dropping your child at the bus pickup point or campsite, consider arriving on time. Deliver all the necessary paperwork to the camp director and trust your child to get a seat on the bus individually. The camp counselor will be available to help when the need arises. Avoid lingering around and let the kids start their camp program adventure. You can place a phone call later on, to track their progress if the camp allows.
· Prepare Your Kids to Make New Friends
Often, children wonder whether they will make new friends at summer camp. Jennifer Higgins, mother of two academic summer camp experts at the University of Virginia, says:
“Every year, I suggest the girls pack something that has their school name and Ocean City, New Jersey (a favorite summer vacation spot), on it. These items have served as a good conversation starter with other kids. They also pack nail polish, remover, cotton balls, gossip magazines, and Frisbees. These give the girls something to do around the suite at night or to entice some outside play.”
· After the Camp, Give the Kids Time to Adapt to Normal Life
After spending high adrenaline fun days at summer camp, your child will need some time to adapt back to the regular home routine. Remember, children are different. While some of them will be excited to talk about their adventures immediately, others will take time to come to terms with the idea of leaving.
Please do not push your child into talking about their experiences. Instead, allow them to rest and give them good food to help them recharge. Once your Kid is ready to speak, leverage the opportunity to talk about the additional tasks they learned at summer camp, like washing their dishes and making their bed every day.
Discuss fun activities they engaged in during summer camp evenings like roasting marshmallows and storytelling. Determine whether they are ready to implement some of these responsibilities and fun activities in the home schedule.
Identify strategies to form a relationship over the new experiences your kids had during summer camp. Apart from developing young minds, summer camp involves creating great family moments for kids and their parents to cherish forever.
- Going for a sleepaway camp can be daunting, especially for first-timers. However, parents can help their kids relax and prepare them for the upcoming adventure.
- Summer camp teaches children a range of life skills they can carry on in their adulthood.
- Visiting the campsite before the trip is an excellent way of ensuring that your child will be comfortable away from home.
- Exposing kids to sleepaway summer camps allows them to interact with their peers from different parts of the world. Not only do they get a chance to make new friends, but they also learn about other cultures.
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