How to Pick the Right Summer Camp
The dog days of summer are quickly coming. Whether this summer will be like 2020 or if it will return to a season of carefree fun has yet to be determined. However, we know that those kids are getting restless, and summer camp will be a must this year.
If you're a summer camp seasoned pro, then you've got an idea of what types of camps work best for you and your kids. But the following tips might help you navigate the new waters of a (hopefully) post-COVID camp season.
For those of you who haven't yet tried a summer camp, you're going to love it. It doesn't matter if it's just a few hours each day or a more extended, overnight camp. When you've been dealing with virtual school and more time stuck in the house together, that break is priceless. We've compiled a list of tips to make picking the right camp an easy choice. One that will make you feel good.
How do you choose the right summer camp? We have so many great tips that will help you select a summer camp. And then, we have a few more summer camp tips to help you prepare for this big adventure.
Consider the Child and the Family.
Obviously, no two kids are exactly alike. Even parents of twins will tell you that. For this reason, we suggest trying to find a camp that works for you, your child, your family, and everything else that plays a role in summer camp. Sending siblings to the same camp might be most straightforward, but it might not be something both kids enjoy. Even worse, the child who doesn't like that camp might feel slighted.
That said, some people can't afford separate camps, or they don't have the time to spend taking each child to a different program. Weighing the pluses and minuses here is essential and, when paired with our next tip, you can make it work.
Give Your Child a Choice.
Remember those parenting books that told you to ask your child if they wanted to pick a bedtime story before they brushed their teeth? Either way, they would have to brush their teeth, but they felt empowered because they had a choice. The same goes here. Let them give you some input, but you can tailor their options so everyone feels like they're winning.
Day Camps or Overnights.
How does your little one do when they're at a sleepover? Are they desperate to get home the following day, or do they want to stay as long as possible, coming up with all kinds of excuses to keep playing? You know your child best and can gauge if they're good with overnights or not, but there are some additional stressors involved in an overnight camp that can make it hard, even for older kids and those who do well at regular sleepovers.
• The environment is not as comfortable and familiar as a home.
• There are so many new kids, and it can be intimidating and scary.
• Their routine is turned upside down.
• The daily activities can be exhausting and make your child overtired.
• Homesickness is new for most kids and hard to navigate.
What Are the Expectations.
First, ask yourself what you expect your child to get out of the experience. Then, ask your child what they want. There are so many options with sports camps, educational camps, adventure camps, and those camps that mix a little of everything. Knowing what expectations are and then looking at them with a more practical lens doesn't just help select a camp but also makes the experience more fulfilling.
We know, and we get it. Researching several camps is a lot of work, and you're already so busy. It's easier to sign up for the camp where everybody else is sending their kids. The problem is that center might not fit your budget, your schedule, or your expectations. And isn't the purpose of camp to try new things and meet new people? If you put the research into the front end, we promise you'll be happy you did.
Another thing to consider and research is how they are managing the current guidelines for COVID safety. And those guidelines change regularly, so you might need to research that, too. A lot of summer camps had to cancel programs last year. Most of them will try to make something work this summer, and they've learned a lot during the school year and with after-school programs, so look for camps with upfront safety protocols. And, most importantly, look for one whose approach makes you feel comfortable.
The Best Summer Camp Tips for Awesome Results.
The calendar is posted, and you're both crossing off the days until summer camp starts. You're confident in your choice, and your little one is beyond excited. These tips will prepare you both for a great experience.
Custom Camp Labels.
Label everything. Our custom Camp Labels are a perfect choice because this is exactly what they're designed to do. They stick tight to just about everything, especially if you follow the instructions.
Picture this: you send your kid to camp with tons of clothes, expensive sporting equipment, cherished camping gear, and they come home with nothing. It happens. If everything is labeled, the odds of losing stuff and not getting it back is greatly reduced.
But that's not the only scenario. That's just the most obvious. Imagine it's time for a craft project. Unfortunately, little Suzy left her art supplies scattered all over after the last project, and her art bin is now missing key pieces. Suzy is reduced to tears and inconsolable. But, if her name is on her stuff, then she's got little helpers all over connecting her back to her things.
Practice for Camp.
Is it the idea of spending more than one night away from home that has you and your little one brimming with anxiety? Maybe meeting new kids is not their strong suit. Whatever you see as the biggest hurdle to a successful camp experience, give it a little practice. Go camping for a night as a family, so night sounds are familiar. Take your child to a park and encourage them to meet others. Build their confidence, so they feel empowered to be excellent at whatever they try.
Schedule Self Care.
Let's be honest. One of the best things about summer camp is you get a little free time. Here's the problem, most people fill that time with errands, work, and other chores, and suddenly there's no free time, and there was no "me" time. Schedule an hour a day, if you can, to do whatever you want – coffee with friends, go for a walk, hit the gym, get a massage. You deserve this break.
Be Interested and Excited.
Your child is going to be over-the-moon excited to tell you stories about their camp experiences. And you're probably going to hear the same story over and over. But the more excitement you show, the more they'll want to keep going back. They'll also feel more confident and positive about summer camp overall.
One More Thing.
One last tip we have for parents and children when it comes to picking a summer camp and going to summer camp – be flexible. If 2020 taught us anything, it's that nothing is certain. Things can change quickly and not be what you expected or go how you planned. Being able to roll with the changes is a great skill that will get you through summer camp and beyond.
Thank you again for joining us in another edition of The Weekly Bubble! Let us know what factors YOU look for when choosing a camp for your child.