For kids, the month of May marks a transition to a fun season: summer camp. While engaging in recreational activities, they will also develop new skills, equally important for life, but different from the ones they learn in school.
At camp, they will cultivate their respect for the environment, enjoy time outdoors, develop their skills and talents through games and activities, make new friends, and live a day-to-day with more flexible rules, all of which will help them enjoy every camp activity to the fullest.
Just as we prepare for school, we need to prepare for summer camp. There are practical preparations which include things like the uniform, sunscreen, and other items. Then there is the emotional aspect of the preparations, given that they will face a whole new environment with unfamiliar children and teachers. This is the time to boost their self-esteem and help them improve their social skills.
In order to tackle this task successfully, it is important to take a few steps first. The following is a list of recommendations:
- Physical exam – During the school year, children only visit their pediatrician when they are sick. This is the right time for them to receive a complete medical check-up or vaccinations to ensure that they are healthy to participate in all activities.
- Explain how it works – Talking about what to expect is key to raising assertive children. If possible, visit the campsite with them. Speak with them about the uniform, the types of activities, the number of children in each group, and even the ages and attire of the camp leaders. This will help children understand that although these are young people who dress casually, they must be shown respect.
- Look into the activities – Evaluate if there is a physical or health concern that may prevent your child from participating in certain activities so you can let their leaders know. Likewise, if you see a class or workshop on the camp list that your child might not enjoy, encourage them to participate and follow through.
- Pack together – Make them part of the process of packing their backpack. Ask in which pocket they would like to put their sunscreen, and where they want to pack their snacks. If there is a pool, explain that the plastic bag should be used to put away their wet clothes, among other basic instructions. Show them where you wrote their name on their belongings and how they will need to remember where they put them at all times.
- Unusual responsibilities – A controlled classroom prevents your child from having certain responsibilities. But it will not necessarily be like this at camp. Your child is responsible for keeping themselves hydrated, reapplying sunscreen, not losing their swimsuit when they change clothes, remembering where they left their backpack, and paying attention to where the group is moving. Go over this list with them. Taking on these new and unusual responsibilities will help them thrive, grow, and to take pride in themselves.
The key for them to enjoy their summer camp experience is to participate in activities, meet new friends, get along with other children, and gain new experiences that will help their emotional and physical development. Let’s cheer them on, prepare, and enjoy the summer!