Summer vacation has started for many schools, and others will be ending soon. It's not too late to sign your child up for summer camp!
There are many benefits of attending summer camp. Your child will not only have the opportunity to make new friends and practice social skills, but he may also gain confidence and independence while being away from you and in a new environment. Not to mention, summer camps can help prevent summer learning loss; depending on the camp, your child may be using math, science, history, writing and geography skills while also having a fun time with new friends.
If your child is lucky enough to be able to go to camp over the summer, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a camp.
1. Include your child in the process of choosing a camp. Ask him what type of camp he might like to go to, then give him the option of choosing from two different camps in that category. This helps invest your child in the camp adventure.
2. Try to find a camp that combines your child's interest with an educational component. Most camps do come with some sort of educational component built in; even sports camps include learning the rules of the game, mathematics and good sportsmanship. But, if you can find a camp that your child will enjoy, that also helps him with an aspect of school that he may have trouble with, then the camp will be doing double duty and may help your child have an easier transition back to school in the fall.
3. Ask your friends and neighbors about summer camps. When it comes to sending your children to a new place, it's hard to beat the referral from a good friend, family member or neighbor whose own child attended the same camp in the past. Those who know your child -- his personality, his fears, his strengths and weaknesses -- will be able to help you find a camp that might be well suited for him.
4. Look for a camp that has a history of positive online reviews. Thanks to the Internet, you can easily browse Google Reviews and sites like Yelp. Remember to take each review with a grain of salt, but if a camp has an overwhelming amount of positive or negative reviews, there's a good chance that those reviews are giving you a good reflection of the camp.
5. Find a camp that has clear security measures in place. How do they handle drop-offs and pick-ups? What do they require if someone other than yourself is going to be picking up your child from camp? How do they ensure each child is safe and accounted for on field trips? These are the kinds of questions you should ask the camp. If they are not willing or able to answer your questions about safety to your satisfaction, then you might consider looking for a different camp.
6. Search for a camp that has clearly communicated and well-enforced allergy restrictions. If your child has a food allergy, communicate with your child's camp of choice ahead of time to find out how they handle snacks and lunchtime, as well as how any on-site food is handled and prepared.
At the end of the day, find a camp that you know your child will love - and one that makes you feel safe leaving your child in their care. Summer camps can provide wonderful, positive memories to last a lifetime, especially if you take some time beforehand to ensure you choose the right camp for your child.