If you have kids at home, chances are you're gearing up to send them off to summer camp. Here are a few tips for getting you and your children geared up for their first day:
Sending a kid to camp means being inundated with brochures, emails and info packets before they leave about what they will do and what they will need to bring with them. Be sure to read everything thoroughly before your kids board the bus. While you will have a packing list, camp organizers often give parents tips for sending kids off to camp for the first time, as well as general rules and regulations, weather forecasts and suggestions for things to pack that aren't on the mandatory list. Being prepared will help you get your child ready for a fun experience.
While it may be tempting to load kids down with two of everything that the list recommends, don't. There is limited space at camp, so it's better to travel light and have less to worry about than it is to burden your kids with too much stuff. Besides, think back to your own camp experience: You probably spent most of your time in a bathing suit and wore the same three shirts every day for the entire summer. Stick to essentials, and pack a couple of extra cans of bug spray.
Get creative with care packages
Care packages at camp are practically a necessity, and while candy is all well and good, try adding more creative items. Send them a greeting card to let them know you are thinking of them, and in a care package include relaxing activities, like notebooks, colored pencils, books and things your kids can use with their bunkmates. It's also a good idea to include pens, personalized stationary, and a list of family addresses and stamps. While your kids may write to you, they probably won't remember to send letters to anyone else, and everybody likes to hear about camp!
Ditch the tech at home
The world has become completely plugged in, digital and connected to social media. Everywhere, that is, except for camp. Many places have a no-electronics policy for good reason: there is a higher likelihood for loss or theft, which leaves the camps and the campers vulnerable. Counselors already have enough to worry about. Plus, given that most camps are isolated, unplugged places, most digital technology is completely useless anyway. So tell the kids there's no point in bringing the phones and tablets – their gadgets will be waiting for them when they get home.
Most importantly, remember that no news is typically the best news. If your kids don't get in touch with you, it probably means that they are having a great time. Wish them well and send them off, and be prepared for the dirty laundry when they come home!