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Mom, I hate camp... said no kid ever



Here are 10 handy tips for Hudson Valley parents who are readying their child for upcoming summer camp season. A little bit of prep work will go a long way to keep everyone cool, calm, and collected.



Click here to check out our camp essentials check list!

1. FILL ‘ER UP. Bring one bottle of water that has been cooled in the refrigerator and a second one that has been in the freezer. As the day wears on, the frozen water will melt and provide cool refreshment for your child. Spray bottles are a great idea too. They keep the face and body cool in the hot sun.

2. IT’S A SCORCHER! Apply sunscreen to your child’s skin before he leaves home and send the tube along for reapplication. Avoid sending tanning lotion with little or no SPF, or sunscreen that contains glitter as it can reflect light and cause sunburn. Consider sending along a hat for extra protection.

3. BUG OFF! If your child is going to be out in a natural environment, he should wear insect repellent. Look for a lotion form that is safe for children; avoid sprays. When camp is over, follow up with a tick check.

4. ALL DECKED OUT. One thing camp directors always see are children coming with the wrong outfit. Some kids want to pick out their own clothes, but if they have chosen black jeans and a dark t-shirt, it may not be the best option. Dress your child for comfort, safety and temperatures. Proper shoes are important, particularly if he is playing outside. Avoid strappy sandals and flip flops; opt for tennis shoes.

5. NAME IT AND CLAIM IT. Any item brought to camp should have your child's name, address and phone number on it in case it gets left behind. It also avoids confusion if identical items are brought by two children.

6. TIME OUT FROM TECH TOYS. Do not bring valuable items such as handheld games or cell phones. Day camp programs are designed to provide an enriching experience and your child should be engaging in these activities rather than playing with electronics. If these items are brought, they may be confiscated and returned at the end of the day in the hope your child gets the message. And, even at the best of camps, items like these can be stolen.

7. PILLS, PAINS AND OTHER PROBLEMS. All camps have forms for parents to list medications their child is taking. But if you take your child off a medication for the summer, the camp needs to know that as well because it could cause an extreme change in behavior.  Allergies are another issue to discuss with counselors, whether it be insect or food-related. Equally important: share family issues that can affect your child’s behavior, such as a divorce or a recent death. Camp personnel will look out for the physical and emotional needs of a child, so the more information you provide, the better equipped they will be.


HOW TO CHECK YOUR CHILD FOR TICKS

8. HELP IS ON THE WAY! Having an emergency contact person is vital. Even more important is for that designated person to know they are the emergency contact. Every year camps have situations where they call the emergency contact person and she was not informed she was designated as such. Before listing a person’s name on the form, let her know first.

9. BEEF YER’ BRAIN. Read the materials the camp gives you— policies, procedures and planned activities. If you know what to expect and what is expected of you, things will run more smoothly. Most camps provide a weekly activity schedule so your child can decide ahead of time if they want to participate. Talk the activities over with your child, if, perhaps, she cannot participate due to health reasons, make sure you inform the camp in writing, and provide a copy for the camp’s medical office.

10. GETTING TO KNOW YOU. Find out if there is an open house where you can meet the staff and see the facility prior to camp. If not, make other arrangements to introduce yourself to those who will care for your child. Work on knowing the camp directors and counselors so you can stay informed on how things are going for your child at camp.

Finally, encourage your child to enjoy the experience. Mark the first day of camp on the family calendar and do a countdown. Help your child develop a checklist of items needed. And don't forget to share your own camp stories. Remind your child to do his best, obey the rules, be respectful of others and, yes, have a great time!

Denise Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines and the mother of three children.