With the last day of school approaching, it's time to start thinking about what to do with your kids for the summer. For many parents that usually includes summer camp.
At 7 and 4 years of age, our children only attend day camps so this blog post will focus on that. When they get older and we decide to send them to overnight camps, we'll cover that topic at that time.
As a contributor to several parenting magazines and mom blogger, I appeared on WPBF-TV, the ABC affiliate, in West Palm Beach talking about your Summer Camp Checklist.
Most parents look for the same 5 things when deciding on a summer camp:
- Is the camp close to work or home?
- Is it half-day? All day?
- Is there before & after care/extended care for working parents?
- What is the registration fee?
- What is the cost per week?
- Is there a minimum number of weeks the child must attend?
- Is there a discount for multiple weeks?
- Is there a sibling discount?
- Field Trips
- What are the field trips?
- Where do you take the kids?
- How many counselors supervise them off campus?
- How are they transported?
- Educational Activities
- Do you have any educational activities? Or does it simply consist of arts & crafts? Or activities outdoors?
While all of that information is important, there are 5 other questions you should be asking.
- What is a typical day-to-day schedule?
- This is an extension of asking about educational activities or how many hours are spent outdoors.
- It'll give you a better idea of what your child will be doing and how often he/she will eat during the day.
- What is the counselor to camper ratio?
- The American Association of Camps has guidelines specifying 1:8 for campers 6 to 8 years old and 1:10 for campers 9 to 14 years old.
- What medical training or services are available on site?
- Most, if not all counselors, are trained in first aid and CPR. Discuss your child's health concerns with camp staff.
- What is the camp's approach to discipline? How do counselors and staff handle conflicts between campers?
- Do they use positive reinforcement?
- Make sure the camp's practices are in line with your parenting practices.
- What is the camp's emergency evacuation or preparedness plan?
- With hurricane season beginning June 1, you'll want to know the camp's plans in case of a natural disaster and the heavy rains that are a daily summer occurrence in South Florida.
What questions do you ask the camp staff before signing your kids up?