How to Prepare Your Child for Camp

I know there are parents out there who are lucky enough to have children that love the sun and their sports. I have a son whose favorite activity is to sit in front of the PS3 all day. Unfortunately, it is not feasible to leave a child to their own devices when you have to leave for work every day. I have found a way to energize a child for camp in spite of their reluctance to leave the house.1. You lie. Now this seems contrary to everything that we as parents have taught our children, or been taught ourselves, but I strongly suggest this as a great place to start. You tell them about the swimming, and the crafts, the friends and the hanging out at summer camp. You could even suggest that you loved camp when you were a child. This is important as you have to get their focus off of the fact that there will be no TV. You could even suggest that there “might” be horses, or some other favorite activity available for them to participate in. Now I must caution you, expect the whining and complaining when they find out that you were “wrong” about the treasured camp activity. You simply suggest that the activity was available when you went to camp and “my how times have changed”. By the way, it is not necessary that you have actually participated in a summer camp yourself. You just have to tell them you have.2. You allow them to pick out their own lunches. You might as well throw Canada’s Food Guide out the window at this point. This is not yet the time to enforce healthy eating. You take them with you to get groceries. You “must” allow them to pick out what junk food would make them happy. Now this is imperative to ensure an easy transition for the first week. A brownie is worth a thousand smiles. For all the health conscious moms and dads out there that are shivering at the thought of the impending sugar high, rest assured, the first week will drive you absolutely crazy with nighttime hyper-activity. You can thank me on week two. You don’t need to tell them that you will be replacing the junk food with carrot sticks after the yummy stuff runs out. You would not believe the euphoria that comes from the child who thinks that they will be eating candy all day. Now if your feeling a little guilty at this point, please refer back to reference point 1.3. You tell them they will be swimming all day long. Now, this only works if your child enjoys swimming. Use any activity that you think might sway them into wanting to go to camp. What is really important here is that you DO NOT tell them that there will be planned activities. If your child finds out that they are also going to be participating in activities that they may not enjoy, this will certainly be the deal breaker.4. Do not remind them that it will be hot. The child will find this out soon enough. Don’t burden yourself with the complaining that will come with this knowledge. As well, don’t tell them that they won’t necessarily be able to go swimming when it is the hottest part of the day. There are schedules to be followed and you can’t break with the schedule.The above points will help to build enthusiasm in your child. However, if you find yourself with a resistant child, this means any child that doesn’t respond well to anything about camp, there are a few things that you should know. All of the information contained above, doesn’t work. There are a whole new set of rules for you lucky folks.1. DO NOT TELL THE CHILD THEY ARE GOING TO CAMP. This is so very important. If your child should happen to find out that they are going to camp, they will make everyday until camp, and everyday in camp, a living nightmare for you. The trick is to keep the information from them until you are about to put them on the bus. Doing it this way affords you at least a temporary peace for the interim leading up to camp day.2. Make their lunch as nutritious as you possibly can. Send them with 5 grain bread with low fat cheese, carrots sticks, and anything healthy. This of course will make them genuinely unhappy, but they will be at camp, so you don’t have to listen. On picking them up from the bus, you ask them if they would like to have ice cream. They will be so thrilled with the junk food that they will forget about the horrifically healthy lunch they were forced to endure at camp. This also becomes their treat on returning every day from camp. This technique is very effective if you hold off on giving the ice cream until just before bed. Their behavior will be quite pleasing until the ice cream is had. As soon as the bowl is empty, or the cone is gone, the child must then be put to bed. This is to avoid the inevitable complaining about camp that will follow after the treat is eaten.3. Do not wake your child from sleep until 5 minutes before you are to leave for the bus. This way you can enjoy your morning coffee without listening to all the negative things that happened at camp the day before. You will have them on the bus before they even wake up. It works like a charm.In summary, camp is an essential element in a child’s summer. It keeps them out of the house, busy, and active. There are many children that, no matter how hard you try, will never enjoy the camp experience. These are just a few pointers to help get you through until camp is over. By the way, it doesn’t hurt to buy a pair of ear plugs just to be safe.