How to Prepare Kids for Camp

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Ah, summer camp... The kids are getting ready to sing songs on the camp bus or eat popsicles after a long, hot game of capture the flag. You're getting ready for a little peace and quiet. But summer camp may not be all fun and games. Maybe you have a kid who is anxious about the new routine. Perhaps you're nervous about your child being out in the sun all day. Make summer camp a memorable experience for everyone with these tips for how to prepare kids for camp.

Make a Checklist

Everyone's summer camp checklist may differ. Contact the camp ahead of time and find out what the camp provides and what you need to bring. A typical summer day camp checklist may include:

-bag lunch
-water bottle
-change of clothing
-towel
-swimsuit
-sunscreen
-hat
-sunglasses
-notepad or sketchbook
-pencil, pen, crayons, etc.

Get your child in on the organization. Post the checklist where your little one can see it, and encourage him or her to get the essentials together every night before camp.

Talk About It

Children may be hesitant about this new experience. Talk to your child about his or her fears, and address some of the unknown aspects of camp to help ease your child's nerves.

-If your child will be riding a bus, find out what the route is, and point out some of the landmarks that your child will be passing.
-Contact the camp ahead of time to find out the names of the bus driver and counselors who will be interacting with your child.
-Go over the schedule with your child and talk about any field trips or special events.
-Don't send your child to camp with valuables. It can be stressful for a little one to have to keep track of a wallet or a camera all day.
-Plan to send your child to camp with a sibling or a friend.
-Talk with your child about all the new friendships he or she will make.

Get Packing

Have your child help pack his or her bag in the evenings using the checklist that the two of you prepared. Include plenty of items for sun protection, including sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and sun protective clothing.

Remember, you're not going to be around to reapply sunscreen every two hours, so this is a great time to talk about sunscreen rules. Provide sunscreen that's easy for your child to apply, like a stick for the face and a mist for the body. Have your child practice applying sunscreen before the week of camp. Every morning, your child should apply sunscreen before leaving the house. Have him or her reapply upon arrival at camp, and then every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.

One of the best ways to prepare kids for camp is to dress them in sun protective clothing. Shorts and rashguards are ideal for playing sports or getting active in the sun. Beach pants and swim pants for girls are cool enough for frolicking in the sun, and they dry quickly if they get wet. Rashguard and shorts sets for boys are versatile for running on the shore, paddling across the pond or taking the plunge.

With your child wearing sun protective clothing for kids, you'll know that the most sensitive skin is covered. It also makes applying sunscreen easier. Your child won't have to worry about slathering SPF on his or her back or shoulders. Just cover the arms, legs, neck and face and he or she will be sun safe all day.

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