Sending your kids to camp requires a lot of planning and organization. Sometimes, the number of things to do and remember can be overwhelming, especially for parents who are sending their kids off to camp for the first time.
Thankfully, that’s what checklists and to-do lists are for. Because it’s always better to get things down on paper rather than trust your brain to remember. At least with a checklist, the list will do the remembering for you.
For parents sending their kids off to camp for the first time, then, we’ve compiled a short to-do list of the most essential things you should get done before the day of departure. Hopefully, this will help smoothen out your preparations and take away any added stress.
1. Set Your Children’s Expectations
The first question parents should ask themselves and their kids before sending them to camp is already, “Are they ready?” Children under the age of seven, for example, don’t adjust as easily to being away from home compared to other kids.
One way to find out if your kid is ready is by gauging their interest in camp itself. Do they talk about camp and the activities that they get to do there? Was going to camp their idea in the first place? Do they have a sustained interest in joining a camp?
If your child shows a good share of interest, it’s also important that you set their expectations. Talk about how they’ll be away from home, without you, their parents around. Talk about how they can go to the camp counselors or organizers if they have any problems or concerns. Talk about how it’s a chance for them to meet new people and make new friends. What’s important is that their expectations are reasonably set. Not too high, nor too low.
2. Check & Double-Check Your Packing List
Most camps will often send through a packing list that includes all the essential items that they need to bring to camp. Check and double-check this list, and make sure that everything is inside your kid’s bag so that nothing gets left behind.
It can also be a good idea to put a buffer on the camp’s packing list. Throw in an extra set of clothes, toiletries, or other essentials in case of emergency. You can’t be too prepared, after all.
3. Put Camp Clothing Labels On Everything
If your kids are on the younger side, it’s always a good idea to stick camp clothing labels on all their belongings. After all, things will likely get so busy at camp that there’s always a chance that they might forget or misplace a sock, a shirt, a swimsuit, or any of the multitude of clothing items they will be taking with them.
There are different kinds of camp clothing labels, from stick-on clothing labels to iron on clothing labels. Both are great and easy to apply to your kid’s clothing, especially if you’re in a rush to pack everything at once.
4. Inform the Camp of Your Kid’s Medical Conditions
Does your kid have any allergies? Are they diabetic? Are they susceptible to asthma attacks whenever they’re outdoors? If that’s the case, it’s always a good idea to inform the camp organizers of any medical conditions your child has so that they can provide assistance in any way that they can. Label their medications and devices with Name Labels and Medical Alert Labels keeping all emergency information close at hand.
5. Give them Something to Help Cope with Homesickness
One study conducted by Dr. Christopher Thurber of Phillips Exeter Academy noted that at least 83% of campers reported feeling homesick on at least one day of camp. Homesickness is considered the norm rather than the exception, even if you may have already set their expectations beforehand.
To help your kids cope with homesickness, then, it’s always a good idea to have them bring something from home that may help them cope. This could be their favorite toy, blanket, plushie, or even just a handwritten note tucked away in their belongings.
In preparing your kids as well, it’s good to involve your kids in choosing the camp. Having them own the decision can help them be more comfortable at camp, since it was a camp of their choice.
Be Calm & Kind
Finally, it’s always good to keep a level-head when you’re talking with your kids about camp. Your kids will undoubtedly be able to sense any fear and anxiety you might have about sending them off. So do your best to keep a strong front.
Wondering where to find high-quality camp clothing labels? We recommend taking a look at Sticky Monkey Labels, which offers a great selection of name labels for just about any need imaginable. They specialize in name labels for camp, daycare, school, and more.