One of my favorite things about Summer is camp. That’s not just because I’m the Parkview Kids Camp Director. There is something incredible that happens when kids spend extended periods of time outside, with other kids, in an environment that is geared towards having fun.
Helpful Tips to Prepare Your Child for Camp
I’ve witnessed the life impact on kids, students and families nearly every Summer for the past five years as I’ve worked in camps and kids ministries in Arizona, California, and Illinois. While the kids and staff may change each year, one thing that I’ve found to be key to creating consistent, positive camp experiences is the preparation that families do to make sure their kid is ready when camp begins. Whether it’s your kid’s first time at camp or their fifth time, there are several ways that you can help them make the most of their camp experience this Summer.
1. Get Their Buy-In
One thing I’ve learned about sending kids to camp is that getting them excited makes the experience better for everyone. Take the time to sit down with your kid and talk with them about the options for camp, make sure they are going to a camp that piques their interest. If they’re going to Parkview Kids Camp, they have five different camps each week that they can choose to be in.
As the week of camp gets closer, ask your child about what they are most excited for, even what questions, worries or fears they may have about going to camp. They may need some reassurance from you.
2. Invite a Friend
Going to camp, whether a day camp or overnight camp, can be daunting for kids. Inviting a friend is a great opportunity to ease any anxiety that your child may feel about being away from you in a new environment. At Parkview Kids Camp, our campers are in the same environments for several hours of the day and only separate for camp specific activities twice a day. Even if you camper’s friend is in a different camp, they still get to see each other and interact while also getting to build connections with new friends.
3. Send a Healthy Kid
No matter where your child is going to camp this Summer, send them there in good health! Runny noses, upset stomachs, and other symptoms don’t make for a good camp experience. If your camper isn’t feeling great or is showing symptoms, let the camp know before bringing them. While they may ask that your child stay home, it’s much better than the issues that can ensue when unhealthy kids go to camp.
4. Pack Appropriately
I’m talking about the stuff they need to have a great camp experience. If you’re sending your camper to an overnight camp, make sure you’ve created a packing list or gone over one provided by the camp. Do they need to bring a pillow? Will they be going swimming? Don’t forget deodorant for those preteen campers! For kids going to day camps like Parkview Kids Camp, the packing list may be shorter but it isn’t any less important. Lunches will need to be packed, sunscreen slathered on, and swimsuits worn for water days.
When your camper is bought in, healthy, and has what he or she needs, their Summer Camp experience will certainly be positive and may even be life-changing. Let’s make this summer your child’s best summer ever.