With some preparation, parents can ready children for a successful camp experience.
In recent years, there has been an increase in awareness on the need to expose children to camping activities. Exposing children to camps increases their sense of self-reliance, ambition, adventure, optimism and self-esteem. Camps offer unique opportunities that enable children with varying abilities to distance themselves from daily stressors. Such a favorable environment enables children to explore their individuality. Gaining in-depth insights about themselves increases their sense of autonomy and responsibility. Children often spend most of their formative years in the same neighborhoods, reducing the diversity of their daily interactions. Camps provide children with a suitable platform for forming bonds and interacting with new peers. Due to the intricate nature of children, parents should prepare for their camp in a systematic manner.
When preparing their children for camp, parents need to know about a number of preparations. These include the need to involve the children during formulation of decisions, safety measures, sharing rules, as well as talking about the formation of new friendships.
Involvement of Children
To enhance the efficacy of the camping experience, parents should involve their children in essential decisions. Parents should inform their children about camp. Parents should gather in-depth insights of various types of camps in order to determine their children’s eligibility. Parents should also have discussions about camp assessments with your children. Adoption of this strategy helps in calming fears about camp. Parents should seek their children’s opinion in relation to the camping activities. Establish an interactive environment that allows children to raise pertinent questions in relation to camp activities. Children may experience high levels of anxiety when it comes to camp. Addressing these fears and anxieties beforehand will enable children to assume active roles during camp. Parents should role-play various camp activities with their children. Role-playing is essential because it familiarizes the child with the anticipated conditions and activities of camp. During discussions, parents should encourage their children to form goals that will boost the relevance of their stay at camp.
Safety Measures and Dietary Habits
Before enrolling their children to camp, parents need to know about the available safety measures and dietary accommodations. Parents should gather in-depth insights on whether the camps have safety features and measures that align with their children’s unique needs. The camp should have a license of practice from the relevant authorities. Parents have a key role of ensuring that their children undergo physical examinations to determine their ability to participate in diverse activities during camp. Parents should ensure that camps have appropriate safety measures that protect children from engaging in negative activities such as drug use, violence and bullying. Parents should coordinate with the camp organizers to discuss the ways they protect the children. Parents should speak with their children on the importance of protecting themselves. Such healthy discussions between parents, children and camp organizers increase the efficacy of the camping activities. In addition to gathering insights of the available safety measures at camps, parents should also consider the dietary accommodations. Some children may require well-prepared and nutritious diets in order to enhance their wellbeing. Parents should ensure that the diet at camp does not increase their children’s susceptibility to contracting lifestyle ailments such as diabetes and obesity.
Rules on Sharing
Parents should enlighten their children on sharing best practices. With so many new people around, many infectious ailments are likely to spread within camp due to sharing of personal items. Sharing personal items such as handkerchiefs, clothes and towels is likely to enhance the spread of lice and skin diseases. Children should avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, combs and earrings. Sharing of makeup brushes and wipes is likely to cause eye infections. It is important to enlighten children on the adverse effects of sharing manicure tools and nail polish. These tools are likely to spread germs that may cause toe and finger infections. Children should, however, be encouraged to share other items such as toys, books and painting brushes.
Formation of New Friendships
Forming friendships is a vital part of children’s emotional and social development. Friends increase a child’s ability to develop high self-esteem, altruism, self-confidence and social competence. Friendships among children help them develop their own identity as well as learn about themselves. Friends help to reduce camp stress and help navigate developmental experiences. Parents should also consider the camp’s ability to enable the children to form new friendships. It is important to consider the child’s social skills. Parents should inform the camp organizers of any existing challenges in their children’s communication abilities and social skills. In order to prepare children for the camping experience, parents should help them understand the importance of sharing, respecting the feelings of others, and autonomy. In addition, parents should increase their children’s awareness on how friendships work. During preparation for the camping exercise, parents should teach their children about conversation ice breakers and role-play conversations they will engage in at camp. Boosting the children’s confidence will calm their fears and increase their ability to relate with others in a suitable manner.
Camps offer unique opportunities that enable children to form collaborative relationships with their peers from diverse backgrounds. Camps equip children with skills that enable them to cope with daily stressors. In order to enhance their children’s camping activities, parents should involve children in the derivation of essential decisions that relate to camping for the best outcome.
Anthony Cupo is a trained mindfulness facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC and has been meditating for over 30 years.