If your child is heading off to summer camp, use it as the PERFECT opportunity to teach planning and preparation. Getting ready for camp together will give them a great sense of control, teach them how to organize and foresee situations and need and will even give them a sense of independence, which are all important life skills they can learn early. Share the load with them, give them a little responsibility and watch them shine!
To make sure they have everything they need to have a great time AND keep them organized, here are a few tips!
1 – Start planning weeks before
Make a list of items that need to be packed with your child. Figure out what you have and what needs to be purchased. Many camps provide a packing list, so make sure you ask the camp your child is attending. It will make things much easier! Purchase items early to avoid running out at the last minute for needed items.
2 – Pack with your child
Having your child responsible for packing for camp teaches them a sense of responsibility. They need to know what they will be bringing, so they can make sure it all comes home. Using a list makes it easy, so as items are packed, they can be crossed off. Remember to pack paper, stamped envelopes and pens so your child can write home whenever they want. Some camps have limited wifi access, so plan accordingly.
3 – Know the weather
Make sure that you check the weather for the week they will be gone. This will help ensure that you’ve packed clothing appropriate for all kinds of weather they might experience along with plenty of sunscreen and an umbrella. Even if they’re only going to a local sports camp, by anticipating the next day’s weather will help you make preparations in case the camp gets canceled and they need to be picked up early.
4 – Pack in an organized manner
Try to pack like things together (i.e. toiletries like their toothbrush and toothpaste in a Ziploc bag.) This will help prevent items from getting scattered throughout their bag. Roll shirts, stuff socks into shoes and use space wisely. If the children are young and will be away from home, consider putting an entire day’s clothes together – socks, underwear, shorts, shirts – so they can pick up the pile and go without digging through their bag.
5 – Label all clothing with a laundry pen
Have your child write their name on EVERY item they bring with a laundry pen; including clothing, blankets, toiletries, etc. It’s hard for kids to keep things tidy while away at camp, so labeling makes it easy for them to find everything when it’s time to pack to come home.
6 – Keep medications in original packing
If your child is on medication, it is imperative that the medicine be kept in the original packing and that the camp has your child’s doctor’s name and phone number to call in case of an emergency. Make sure your child knows the medicines and doses they take.
7 – Try to avoid home sickness
Pack family photos, a special note and some of your child’s favorite items (stuffed animal, etc.) to help them feel close to home. For some kids, it might be unavoidable. However, your child will have a better chance of recovering quickly from being home sick if they have something to help remind them of home.
Planning ahead will make life easier for your child and you. Start as early as possible to avoid the stress associated with that last-minute rush and… happy camping!