Posted in Guest Posts

Guest Post: Tips for Parents Before They Send Their Kids Off to Camp or Daycare

Today, I’m super excited to feature a guest post by Alex Robbins (thank you!).  With registration to summer camps on its way, this is a must read!  I hope you find it as informative and enjoyable as I did.

TipsCampDaycare

Tips for Parents Before They Send Their Kids Off to Camp or Daycare

By Alex Robbins

Sending your kids to a child care program – whether it be a summer camp or a daycare – can be a great idea for both parent and child. Kids can experience new things, make new friends, and learn new skills while parents can have some much-needed relaxation time. It’s a win-win situation – if you make the right decisions. Here are some essential tips for parents on what to do and consider before sending their kids off to camp or daycare.

Talk to you child and figure out the right type of camp

If your child isn’t ready for the full sleepaway camp experience, it’s important to figure that out before you send them on a trip that could end up disastrous. Conversely, if your child is ready for an adventure it would be a shame to bore them with a minimal camping experience. Does your child want to stay local, or venture to a camp that’s further away? Is your child ok with all-day daycare? Or do they need half-day care to work their way up to being apart from you for that long? These questions are vital to knowing the right situation to put your child in over the summer. Don’t exclude your kid from the conversation. In the end it’s all on you as a parent, but your child is the one who’s going. Their input should not be ignored.

Know how to avoid bad programs

There’s nothing worse than spending your money on a summer camp or daycare center and finding out later that the facility isn’t taking good care of your child. Maybe the program is uninspired, the facilities are dirty or under-maintained, or the staff is unqualified and unattentive. It’s worth it to take the time to do your research beforehand, so you can weed out any bad apples.

One thing that should send up major red flags is the program’s child to caretaker ratio. If there are too many children and not enough adults, it’s very unlikely that your child will receive the proper amount of attention. Another thing to look for is accreditation. Some non accredited centers are just fine – even wonderful – but you really need to dig deep to figure it out. Accredited programs have gone through rigorous tests to ensure they are up to snuff.

Talk to the staff at the camp or center. Ask how they are chosen. What are their qualifications? Is there an open-door policy, as in there are no restrictions on when you can show up to check on your child? If not, they may have something to hide.

Talk to your kids about possible dangers

It helps to be prepared – even over-prepared. Before you send your child away to be in the care of others, you must talk with them about some potential dangers that could arise.

One talk you need to have is the one about alcohol abuse. It’s important to set clear boundaries for your child, so if the moment arises they will have your voice in the back of their head. It’s also important to take an understanding approach, however, that doesn’t scare or shame. Your child needs to feel comfortable being honest with you, and that can’t happen if they are constantly in fear of punishment.

Another talk you should have is the physical abuse talk. It’s a tough subject to bring up, but it’s paramount to ensuring your kids have a safe and fun time while away. Let your kids know that there are no such things as secrets when it comes to their interactions with adults and other kids while away. Be frank with your kids, so they will know how to accurately describe any situation that made them uncomfortable, should the unfortunate situation arise.

You wouldn’t take a vacation without doing the proper research and making specific plans. Sending your child on a “vacation” is no different. Take the time to pick the right facility and talk to your kids about any potential dangers – even if they seem far-fetched.

Alex Robbins is a father to three lively boys who believes that home safety is a number one priority when you are around this much energy and curiosity! He is involved with a community of parents at Safety Today that have come together to help promote safety in the home and in the community.

Author:

Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

9 thoughts on “Guest Post: Tips for Parents Before They Send Their Kids Off to Camp or Daycare

  1. Last year was our first camp experience. My 12 year old needed some freedom. It went well, but I was very nervous. I think my biggest fear is the fear of physical/sexual abuse. I’ve prepped my daughters the best I can. Heck, even when I drop them off for a practice or a church event, “Hey, remember. Nobody should touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. Even people you know, like, and trust.” “OKAY. MOM.” Eye roll. Just seems like you can’t be too careful. Sigh. I’m glad to see Mr. Robbins pointing these things out!

    1. Glad the camp experience went well! I worked in a summer camp for five years and had a blast. But now, as a parent, whew! I know it’ll be hard for me to send my kids if/when they go. Those talks are super important! Though annoying, I’ll much prefer an eye roll to just assuming that they remember that one conversation. We’ve started the “your body is your body” talk recently because, well, Amélie and Charles share the same room and have both entered the exploration phase.

      1. Wow! Five years! My baby (21) sister worked at a camp one summer. Enjoyed it. But what I love is that she just breaks into a song jam with my kids from all the songs she learned for camp. And they’re complex musically! Then, when she’s gone, my kids (and I) sit around and sing them!—–Yeah [Not “yay” but “yeah”], I guess that’s important to discuss with boys and girls in the family, sharing rooms and bathrooms. And then when friends start coming.—The statistics are about 1/4-6 kids (depending on your statistic source) kids report sexual abuse. That seems so high. I escaped that, but I feel like knowing I escaped makes me more adamant that my kids do, too. I don’t like to bury my head. Statistics say it’s people the kids know. That’s the hardest thing to talk about! How to gracefully explain to your kids without scaring them to death that statistics say that the people they know could do this to them. When you think, “This would never happen!”

        Okay. Enough of that. Camp is fun for them!!! That’s what this article was about! My daughter had a blast, and we will let our other daughters go too. But we do follow what your guest writer suggests! Great advice!

  2. Great post!! I don’t have kids yet but found this very helpful to me and those who do. This is something I will keep in mind if/when that time ever comes. I grew up not comfortable talking about certain things that made me upset or uncomfortable so I know what it’s like. I never want my children to feel that way.

  3. My mind is reeling with all kinds of scares just thinking of the inevitable (day care and start of school). As a first timer my confidence in my ability to find the right one is not very high. Part of the process may be… Thanks for the write.

    1. You’re welcome! One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is that you have to trust your instincts. I contacted three potential daycare spots for my first and ended up visiting just one. It was all I needed. I remember getting really good vibes from the daycare provider. I haven’t regretted it. Thanks foe stopping by!

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