Summer Camp 101: How To Make Sure Your Child Has The Time Of Their Lives

Already making plans for summer next year? The winter days are drawing in with freezing temperatures and dark nights, so it's only natural that most of us are dreaming of some sun! But as well as considering a family vacation next year, have you thought of giving your child the opportunity to do something that will help boost their independence? Summer camps are an extremely popular activity for many US kids. In fact, the American Camp Association reports that approximately 11 million people attend summer camps every year. There are camps for all kinds of interests, some offering a huge range of activities. Most are run by not-for-profit organisations, and some are led in a religious manner. But all in all, there is a camp for everyone. They are a great way to encourage a child's independence by them spending a few weeks away from home, and they can learn a lot of new skills. Plus, it gives you the chance to have a bit of time out of 'mom-mode'! Here's everything you need to know about sending your child to summer camp, and how you can ensure that they have a trip to remember.

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Find a camp that's right for them

As mentioned above, camps come in all shapes and sizes. Does your child excel at gym? There are many sport-specific camps that offer professionally-led training in many different sports. This gives your child the opportunity to find out what they like and what they may like to pursue in the future. If they are more into the arts, many camps offer drama-focused programmes. Plus, some camps have even branched out into niche subjects such as magic and even computing. Once you've found your perfect camp, consider the length of the programme and whether it is overnight or not. A lot of people choose overnight camps as this way it is more like a vacation for your child, but if they are likely to get very homesick, day camps are always an option.

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Keep them healthy

A great as they are, camps can also be breeding grounds for illnesses. A lot of children are spending all day and night together and are sleeping in shared dorms. If just one of them gets a stomach bug, it can be very easy for it to be spread quickly amongst everyone. Before your child goes to summer camp, teach them the importance of cleanliness. Encourage them to wash their hands before eating and after any messy activity. Pests such as head lice can also easily breed at camp, so check if there is a Center for Lice Control nearby that your child can go to.

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Stay in touch

Even though it's all fun and games, camp can be a lonely place too. Your child may become quite homesick; especially if they have never been away from home before. When you drop them off, speak to a camp leader about any concerns you may have and trust that they will be there to take care of your child. After all, it's their job! It is also a good idea to write and post a letter to the camp on the day your child leaves, so it gets there the day after. Having a note from home during those first few days can reassure your child that you are still close to them despite not physically being there. Little touches like this can make all the difference to your child's experience and can make sure that they have a great time at summer camp.

This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer.

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