In working mom (and dad) parenting lingo, summertime almost always rhymes with summer camps. Which camp to send your kid to? How to get your kid into a camp? And most importantly, which camp is right for your kids?
I remember being overwhelmed at the thought of researching camps, picking one that’s right for baby daughter, and actually trusting my own decision. The first time we sent baby daughter to camp was as close to a parenting disaster as you could imagine. In my (slightly) late working mom tradition, I signed her up late, didn’t exactly do all my due diligence before enrolling her, and started the whole first camp experience as a bone fide disaster. The result? We had to pull dear daughter out after a couple of weeks, and learn the hard way that the process of picking camps is not as unstructured as I had tackled it initially.
Since your mess is your message, I’ve since used my mistakes to learn a thing or two about picking the right camp for your kids:
Investigate, Investigate, Investigate!
Whether you choose to ask around, or do your online search, properly investigating is one of the first steps to picking the right summer camp for your kids. Inquiring from parents of children the same age as yours or with similar interests can help. When performing your search, make sure to check for the following three things:
- Accreditation: Are the camps you’re considering accredited? Make sure to check if the camp is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). This accreditation ensures the health and safety of your child through a benchmark of over 250 guidelines, rules and regulations.
- Camp activities: Does the camp provide activities that your child wants or needs? Are the activities offered varied or restricted to a narrow program? Which activities are mandatory?
- Camp logistics: What dates is the camp in session? Where is it located, and can you access it easily? What are the costs involved? Does it accommodate any special needs your child may have?
Make It A Visit!
Visiting a camp before enrolling your child(ren) is the best way to have a confirmation for all your doubts and questions. Most camps will accommodate a tour at a mutually convenient time. The earlier you can visit, the better.
Include Your Child in the Decision!
Last but not least, consider including your child(ren) in the decision. After all, they will be the ones spending most of their summer at the camp! Gently ask him/her what type of camp he/she would be most interested in. Give her/him the option of choosing between a couple of camp options as well. Not only will this give her/him some investment and responsibility in the camp he/she ends up going to, but it will also be enlightening (and interesting) to know what they think.
In summary, make sure to at least include the following tips in your camp search:
Make A Visit!
Include your child in the decision!
How did you go about picking a camp for your child?
To Your Success,
The Corporate Sis.