Three Tips That Will Help You Choose The Right Summer Camp
One of the biggest issues for parents to consider during the summer is child care. While school is a great place for kids during the fall, winter, and spring — not to mention required — summer is a bit of a blank spot. Even parents who teach during the school year often work summer jobs of some kind. For that matter, parents whose schedules allow them to pick their children up after school usually have jobs that require them to work during the school day; that leaves a large chunk of time during the summer in which children don’t have anyone to watch them. Even when a parent does stay at home, school is major occupier for children. They make friends, learn exciting new skill and information, and get active. A child who is unable to go to school is left unoccupied, bored, and in some cases this can lead to very bad habits. This is why many parents choose summer day camps. Unlike regular daycare programs, summer day camps allow children to really take part in exciting new activities. They’re enriched and often make friendships that will last for years to come. But with so many summer camps for kids offered each year, it can be difficult to know which ones are right for your children. Below, we’ll list a few tips that will help you in your search.
1. Ask About Activities
Undoubtedly, summer day camps are most well-known for the physical activities they offer. While usually located more centrally than sleep-away camps and thus less inclined towards the typical “rock climbing and canoeing” type activities, summer day camps still offer many learning opportunities and fun options for kids, no matter what their interests. It’s estimated that 87% of camps offer recreational swimming, 67% teach camping skills, 48% offer climbing or rappelling lessons, 38% offer horseback riding, 78% offer teambuilding skills, 47% do community service, 23% take part in farming, ranching, and gardening, and finally 28% offer wilderness trips. The fact is that with children now spending an average of seven and a half hours per day in front of a screen of some kind — be in TV, video games, or the computer — summer camp offers a break, and time for them to explore more creative outlets. Another great thing about summer camp is that it puts children outside their comfort zones — 74% of kids try things they were afraid to do at first, and 63% of parents report that their kids keep up with such activities after they return home. Summer camps often offer fitness classes and even gymnastics classes for beginners — these are activities that kids can keep up after the summer is over.
2. Tour The Camp
A reputable summer day camp will have no problem with you touring the facilities and meeting the staff before signing your child up. It can be scary to trust your child to others at first, even if summer day camps only last for a few hours a day. Take a look around the camp to make yourself more comfortable — and for that matter, you may want to take your child with you. This is especially helpful for parents with young children who may be afraid of leaving their parents during the summer — while school isn’t optional, they might balk at separation that is technically optional. Seeing that a camp is safe and fun will ease any nervousness you may have, and do the same for your child. If your child is still anxious, get them excited! Talk to them about all the fun things they can do at camp.
3. Prioritize Your Child’s Interests
Listen to your child — know what they want to do. If your child loves horses, look into a summer camp that offers horseback riding lessons. If they love gymnastics, pursue a camp that offers gymnastics classes. This is supposed to be fun for them — try to choose a camp that really caters to their interests.