When it comes to choosing a summer day camp for your child, the possibilities are endless! Or at least it must feel like that once you really start digging in to do some research.
From themed one-week sessions to summer long options and everything in between, the task of selecting the day camp that works best for your family and kids can seem daunting.
And with schedules filling up quickly, you might be tempted to settle for one that sounds fun simply to secure a spot. But before you do, here are three important things to consider before making your selection. .
Start with a budget. Camps fees can range from “affordable” to “are you kidding me,” so make sure you factor in what you can afford. Keep additional care needs in mind, too. You might be tempted to opt for the lower-priced half-day camp option, but if your child will need aftercare for the remainder of the day, depending on your child care costs, it might make more sense to go for full-day camp.
Keep your child’s interests (and personality) in mind. While we want to gently nudge our children out of their comfort zone at times, it’s equally important to respect their interests and personality when selecting something that’s supposed to be “fun”. If your child is an adventurous nature lover at heart, an indoor arts and crafts camp might bore her to tears. On the other hand, if he is extremely task oriented and driven, a themed, project-centered camp might be a good option.
Get to know the Camp. Don’t feel rushed to sign up without being given a chance to ask some questions. Here are just a few things to consider:
- How are the counselors selected and trained?
- Are staff background checks performed?
- What is the counselor/child ratio?
- What is the communication plan for alerting you in case of emergency?
- What is the camp’s discipline philosophy?
- If it is an outdoor camp, do they have a back-up plan in case of inclement weather?
- If so, is there a building on premises or will children need to be transported, and how?
And, of course, ask around among friends and neighbors, or put a post on Facebook to what others recommend while sharing their personal experiences with you.