This article was written by Mr. Robbins - a father of three boys and a member of the Safety Today team. He loves having the opportunity to promote home and community safety through his writing.
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Whether your child is heading to a general outdoor-focused camp, one that focuses on tutoring in a specific subject, a sports camp, or one of the many other speciality camps out there, chances are you are at least a little bit apprehensive about it. While this is only natural, it’s important to understand what a great value summer camp really is for your child.
For all that they will learn, the new experiences they’ll have, and the new friends they’ll meet, the cost of summer camp is a steal. That’s why it’s important to prepare your child for any potential dangers they could face while away - so you can put your mind at ease and allow your child to reap the benefits of a great summer camp. Here is an article that explains the different types of summer camps and their cost.
Know everything there is to know about where your child is camping
It’s not enough to simply read some online reviews, talk to one person at the camp on the phone, and send your child packing if you truly want to set your mind at ease. How much time would you spend vetting a babysitter or daycare provider? Wouldn’t you take trips to a college campus before sending your kid there? Summer camps requires no less of a certain diligence.
Take a trip to the camp and check it out for yourself. Talk to the counselors/instructors that will be spending time with your child every day. Ask a lot of questions. What is the curriculum? How long have the instructors been working there? What’s the employee turnover rate? Any camp that a.) has a closed door policy where you must schedule visits in advance or b.) seems put out by answering your questions may not be a good camp. Here are 10 questions you should ask any summer camp before sending your child there.
Make sure you child understands how to stay safe outdoors
Many camping experiences will have a strong outdoor component, so it’s important that you teach your child how to stay safe when playing outdoors.
The first tip for your child, especially for camps near forests, is to never put anything in their mouth that they find outdoors. “Children are naturally curious and they might come across berries, plants or mushrooms while outdoors. Let them know that despite what they might have seen on TV, it’s not safe to eat anything they find in the wild,” says one solid tip. It’s also vital to show them what certain plants like poison ivy, oak, and sumac look like.
Teach your kids the importance of applying sunscreen and bug spray at frequent intervals. Tell them to never approach wild animals, and if they spot one to notify their camp leader. Your kids also need to know that they should never participate in a physical activity that they don’t feel comfortable doing, as it could lead to serious injury.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the hard stuff
Your child is going away for a while, and they will be without your supervision and guidance while they are gone. That’s why it is paramount that you don’t avoid sensitive “adult” topics of conversation. This includes talks about the dangers of drug and alcohol experimentation as well as what to do if they are inappropriately touched by a camp employee or another child.
Summer camp is a wonderful experience for most kids, as it can help them develop new social skills, learn new things, and discover whether they have interest or talent in a certain field. As parents, our job is to allow our children freedom to have their own experiences while also taking the time time to prepare them for any potential dangers and making sure we are sending them to safe places.