Weekend Highlights

Published June 18, 2014
Health & Development

10 Tips to Help Prepare Your Child for Summer Camp

by Mollie Grow, MD, MPH, Seattle Children's Hospital

Summer is right around the corner and summer camps provide much-needed structure to kids’ schedules by giving them opportunities to further develop cognitive and social skills outside of the school year. However, there’s often a lot of time and anxiety that goes into preparing your child for summer camp—especially if it’s their first time.

Here are 10 tips to parents looking for advice on how to prepare for camp:

1. Talk about it early

Find books from the library about camp experiences that you and your child can read together.

2. Involve them in the decision-making process

Review camp options together and find some friends they can attend camp with.

3. Fight anxiety by focusing on the positive

Get your child excited about camp by looking at the camp’s website for pictures and talking about some of the activities they’ll get to do.

4. Practice being apart through sleepovers and play dates

Help your child feel less nervous about being away from you by getting them out of the house and into new situations.

5. Pack 1-2 reminders of home to help them feel comfortable

Allow your child to bring a special stuffed animal or photo from home to make them feel safe.

6. Use sunscreen and send them with a hat to protect their skin

Apply sunscreen in the morning. Consider sending them with spray sunscreen for their body and stick sunscreen for their face so it’s easier to reapply on their own.

7. Talk openly to the camp director about any allergies, medical needs or other concerns

Tell your child that the camp director knows about their health concerns and that they should speak up if they need anything.

8. If your child has a chronic condition such as asthma or diabetes, get a physical exam before going to camp

If your child has more serious health concerns, it may make sense to find camps specific to your child’s needs.

9. If attending sports camps, pack enough water to ensure they stay hydrated

Depending on the sport and level of exertion, plan to pack at least one to one-and-a-half liters for a half day and two to two-and-a-half liters for a full day.

10. Remind your child not to share hats, helmets or hair brushes to help prevent lice

In the event your child gets lice, use a lice shampoo and comb for nits close to the scalp.

With these tips in mind, don’t forget to help your child get excited for camp. Summer camp is a great opportunity to make new friends, learn important skills and make memories.

 Resources:

To learn more about health issues from Seattle Children's Hospital, visit the blog On the Pulse.


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