You’ve finally managed to choose a holiday camp for your child, but perhaps you’re a little anxious as you don’t know what to expect. Will it be safe? Will it be fun? Will it be rewarding? Will the kids be OK on their own?
The first thing to remember about camps, whether they be focused on sports, maths, coding, science, or any educational activity, is that they should be fun. Kids spend a lot of time at school, so camps should offer something different. Yes, they should be enriching learning experiences, but camps should also be an opportunity for kids to explore their passions (anyone for dinosaurs or outer space?) but with plenty of time for making friends and playing. Summer camps and other holiday camps can offer a great opportunity for kids to build independence and confidence in their abilities to try new things and meet new people. They can learn about the benefits of teamwork, respect for others, and how to have fun without screens (imagine that!).
Needless to say, parents aren’t directly immersed in the camp experience, so it’s completely natural for them to feel some concern. Planning ahead and preparing your child for camp can always help reduce parental anxiety, but here are some additional key points that we hope will be useful:
First day tears
Just like on their first day at school, small children might cry at first. This can be painful for parents, who don’t get to see that their child stops crying a few minutes after they leave! Experience has shown that prolonged drop-offs make kids more upset, so it’s always advisable to say a quick ‘goodbye’.
It pays to pack underwear
If your child is newly toilet trained, it’s always a good idea to pack extra underwear as accidents happen and having spare underwear can avoid embarrassment for them.
Embrace new social groups
Although it can reassure kids if they’re attending camp with a friend or older sibling, being surrounded by strangers is not always a bad thing. Thriving in new social groups is great for self-esteem, independence, and enhanced social skills.
Knowledge is golden
Does your child have any particular interests or hobbies, or is there anything they really like or don’t like? This knowledge can help the camp facilitator make your child’s experience as personal as possible, and ensure they get the most from camp.
Always warn of allergies
If your child has any allergies, especially nut allergies or potentially life-threatening conditions, it is very important to notify the camp facilitator before the first day of camp. This helps them take the necessary precautions to make conditions as safe as possible for your child.
Your child is in good hands
Most camps are run by parents - they know how much you care and worry about your kids because they feel the same about their own children. Good camps will have safety as their top priority, including minimizing the risks of covid transmission, having first aid kits, and controlling access to the camp location.
Try to avoid pick-up time anxiety
Kids have most fun at camp when they’re relaxed and not worrying how long it is to pick up time. It’s always therefore advisable to avoid giving a precise pickup time, as this can lead to anxiety and stop kids getting the most out of their day at camp.
Kids love talking about all the fun things they’ve done at camp; discussing the day can be a great way for parents to feel more involved. Some camps provide a video or photos showing exactly what kids have been up to – this can be a great basis for sharing moments that help promote your child’s conversational skills.