Summer is in full effect and many parents are considering whether or not to send their children off to summer camp. Parents want to ensure that their children are provide with a safe and healthy environment at summer camp. According to health experts, the main parental concerns include sunscreen application, hydration and preventing illnesses. However, parents also need to be concerned about the psychological health of their children – especially in the form of homesickness and bullying. One method parents can utilize to relieve some of their anxiety is to check whether or not a prospective summer camp is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). If a summer camp is accredited by the ACA, that is a key sign the camp is committed to the overall safety, health, and well being of a child. ACA accredited camps are required to follow more than 300 health and safety guidelines.
Parents who have children on medication to collaborate with their child’s pediatrician as well as the camp’s medical staff and create a medication plan for the child. ADHD is a common condition among children who attend summer camps. Because school is not in session, parents have a tendency to take their children off prescribed medications during the summer break – a practice often proves ineffective. One way to prepare for homesickness is to send children on overnight sleepovers, suggests Walton. Parents should not offer to come pick their children up because that option will be unavailable when the children are away at summer camp. By doing so, parents prepare their children to become more independent and camp ready for the overnight summer camp experience.
Although parents may, at first, have reservations about sending their children off to summer camps, the experience can be a very positive part of the child’s development. It is suggested that summer camps accelerate childrens’ development in areas such as independence and self esteem. To read more about this topic is Child Safety at Summer Camps.