Mar 01, 2018

Getting Ready for Summer Camp

By Alyssa Stutz

Alyssa Stutz New Jersey

In just a few short months, we will be kicking off summertime (anyone else counting down the days?)!  The sun will be bright, the sand will be hot, the Rosé will be chilled, but where will your children be? If they are anything like my little ones, they will be at your feet, begging for their third breakfast and pleading for screen time.

Summer Camp. That is why Summer Camp was invented.  Sure, it’s a great way to foster independence, a chance to allow children to have new and exciting experiences, make new friends, unplug for a bit, and enjoy all that summer has to offer. But let’s be honest, summer camp is for the parents just as much as it is for the kids. Summer days are long, which is great, but having a chance to miss those kiddos for a few hours during the day; that is magical.

So, we have you covered.  Follow these tips (or do the opposite!  You’re the expert on your own kids) to help make the camp transition as stress-free as possible.

Find a camp that fits your needs. Whatever your needs are; full or half day camp, bus pick up or within walking distance; chances are there will be a camp that works for you. Whether your child is interested in surfing, art, sports, or music; there is a camp for that. Look through our Summer Camp guide, ask those mom friends of yours, ask your towns Facebook group. We are so lucky to live in communities with so many wonderful resources… use them!

Prepare! Sending children to summer camp can sometimes spark anxiety for children. They are used to the school year routine or the lazy summer morning (lack of) routine. Talk to your children ahead of time and give them as much information as possible. Knowledge is power, especially for little ones who are walking into new situations (with no idea where the bathroom is, when they will be having snack, what time they will be picked up at, etc.)  Set out clothes ahead of time, pack their bags and explain it all to them. Let them in on the process.

Give them choices. “Which bag/water bottle/snack would you like to bring to camp tomorrow?” “Which shorts would you like to wear?” “Would you like to put on sunscreen before or after you brush your teeth?” It might seem silly, but I’ve found that by giving my kids choices on the little things, they are much more agreeable to the big things (such as “GO TO CAMP.”), and they are less likely to put up a fight.

Send them with a reminder from home. A lot of times when children go to camp they are around unfamiliar people and are in unfamiliar places. I found it helps tremendously to let my kids bring something that comforts them. Whenever my oldest son is feeling apprehensive about something new, he asks for my hair elastic to wear around his wrist. Even something as simple as that works wonders.

Schedule downtime. When my kids are overwhelmed, tired, hungry, or overstimulated, stuff usually starts hitting the fan.  After a day at camp, my kids need downtime.  For us, that means quiet play time with their favorite snack, a scooter ride around the neighborhood, an afternoon swim at the pool, and an early bedtime. Whatever “downtime” looks like for your family, consider making that a special way to wind down after a day of fun in the sun.

Now go! Sign up those kids and stock up on Rosé, summer will be here before we know it!