The days are getting longer and hotter, which means summer is on the horizon. If you are thinking about sending your kid to a sleepaway camp, there are plenty of tips to prepare them. Preparation is key in easing you and your child’s sleepaway jitters.
1. Tour the camp and attend the open house with your child. Your child will feel more comfortable and get a sense of what to expect at summer camp. You will also have a chance to learn the facility so you will know what to pack for your child’s safety.
2. Practice cohabitating. If your child is not used to sharing or rooming with another child, start having mini sleepovers to get them prepared.
3. Practice cleanliness. Teach them how to wash and fold clothes. Also, how to keep their toiletries clean and tidy.
4. Practice water safety. When on or near water, teach your child that he or she should wear a life jacket. Also, establish rules of not diving in unfamiliar water and only swimming with a lifeguard present.
5. Pack together. This will allow your child to have ownership over their experience. Also, they can pack objects that hold sentimental value to them, which can help reduce their chance of getting homesick.
6. Make a homesick plan. Let them know it is okay to get homesick. Teach them ways of dealing with stress, such as deep breathing. If they remain homesick for days, let them know it is okay to call home.
7. Children need sun protection and need to stay hydrated. They should wear hats and sunscreen when in the sun and drink lots of water throughout the day.
8. Make sure you have your kids’ contact information and schedule.
9. If you have worries, work to resolve them. If you are anxious that your child is not going to know anyone, set up a pre-camp get-together. If you are worried that your child will get sick or hurt, talk to the camp nurse. If you are nervous about their food allergies, talk to the camp’s chef.
10. Have your kid write down their goals. Camp is a great learning experience. Your child will gain confidence and improve their self-esteem by making new friends and accomplishing new goals. They will also become more independent by caring for themselves.
Click here for tips on staying safe this summer.
Click here to learn more about keeping your teenager active this summer.
Dr. Aarti Pais is a Family Medicine Physician at Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. She completed her internship at Tulane University and her residency at East Jefferson General Hospital. Dr. Pais is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and treats patients at her uptown clinic located on the campus of Touro Infirmary.