Choosing a Summer Camp For Your Child
Choosing a summer camp or daycare is an inevitability many parents face; in fact, per Pew Research, nearly half of American children come from households where both mom and dad work fulltime. With kids having three months off, parents look to keep them busy, keep them safe, and keep them happy. The right camp can offer all of this, giving you peace of mind.
Still, deciding where to send your child isn’t a given. The following tips don’t make it easy, but, perhaps, easier.
Consider the Cost
According to the American Camp Association, the average cost of a summer day camp is $304 per week. This is highly variable, however; nonprofit organizations (such as YMCAs) tend to be the cheapest and offer programs starting at $100 per week. For-profit camps may charge more than $500 per week.
If you want to save money, your local church may be a cost-effective option to look into.
Look at Reviews
No one should ever read online reviews without a little caution: per TIME, review sites that rely on star rankings are filled with bogus ratings. This doesn’t mean they’re entirely worthless, but refrain from letting the stars guide you: instead, read the written words. If there’s a common theme – a consistent complaint about safety, for example – consider that a red flag. Of course, going offline is even better: if you’re interested in a camp, ask the opinion of those you know have been there.
Take a Tour
Before enrolling your child anywhere, take a tour and get a feel for the atmosphere. Look for very specific things: Is the facility clean? Are the children happy? Are there enough adults involved? If a facility refuses your request to look around, there might be a reason. And it’s probably not good.
Ask Your Children
Some summer camps focus on one activity – drama or baseball, for instance. Your child might have varied interests and be up for just about anything, or they may prefer a specialty camp that focuses on their passion.
Your child may also prefer to attend a camp with kids that they know. Therefore, where their peers are going is something else worth considering. Ask your child what they want before you put down a deposit or else prepare for slamming doors and extra eye rolls.
Check the Background
While many of us assume that all day camps and daycares meet state regulations, Parenting magazine warns that they don’t. Camps should be accredited with the American Camp Association, an organization that reviews policies, conducts onsite visits, and implements safety measures. A camp without accreditation isn’t necessarily bad, but it warrants further scrutiny. You may want to ask more questions or ask for a copy of their safety procedures, philosophy statement, and their daily agenda.
In a perfect world, parents would be able to spend the summer with their children. On the beach. In Hawaii. In the real world, day camp happens. By doing the above, you set your child up for a summer of fun, rather than one where they spend their time counting the days until school starts.
If you’re moving to the Seattle area, get in touch with us. We’re here to help year around. We don’t take summers off, either. 😉
Image courtesy of Pexels under Creative Commons 0 license
11 Jan 18
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