Every year many parents face the big dilemma of trying to choose the best summer camp for their child. It is not an easy task since the camp has to meet various needs, dreams and goals of both the parents as well as the child herself. We all know the parents who send their child to math camp when all the child really wants is to play and have fun.
Here is a step by step guide complete with questions to consider in order to make a choice that will suit both the parents and the child who will attend camp.
First, ask yourself some general questions:
- What am I hoping this camp can offer my child? What are the desired goals and outcomes from this experience?
Should the camp be only a place where my child will have fun and hang out with friends? Or additionally do I want her to learn new skills such as learning to ride a horse, learn a new language, maybe French or Mandarin? In other words, do I send my child to just have fun and relax or do am I looking for an added value… Maybe a faith-based camp that is consistent with our family values is the answer, or maybe an environment which will boost my child’s confidence and independence are the key features I am looking for.
- What is my child capable of emotionally, socially and developmentally? Is my
child ready for overnight camp or is day camp a better fit? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options? If she goes to overnight camp how long should it be for 5 days, 3 weeks or 6 weeks? Am I ready to send my child to an overnight camp? Will I enjoy the time away from her? Do I need some time for myself?
After having answered these general questions, you can ask yourself some specific and more practical questions such as:
- Should she be going to camp with her friends or should she branch out?
- Will her siblings go to the same camp or to a different camp?
- Should my child keep going to the same camp she has previously attended or should she try something new?
- Can I afford it?
- Where is it located?
It is always important to make your decision with these parameters in mind and after discussing it with your child. For older kids this discussion is very important since you want to dialogue with them get their input and give them your point of view in return. For younger kids it is advisable to consult your partner and to ask your younger child what would interest her as the other considerations require more maturity.
Choosing a summer camp for your child is exciting and important and now I hope much easier! Have a great summer!