The camp trunks are out of storage and the packing has begun, school is almost out, you think you have everything covered. Here are some helpful tips for things that sometimes get overlooked these last few weeks before the kids leave for camp.
The kids have seen their pediatrician, but there are other appointments to consider. Children tend to have major growth spurts during the summer months, their hair grows quickly too. One of the biggest causes of hair tangles is going too long between cuts. If your child gets a trim right before camp starts, this may help to keep things under control. Make sure you schedule a haircut around the second week in June.
Does your child wear braces, or have a retainer? Taking care of orthodontic appliances, braces or Invisalgn at camp is important. Make sure you pack some dental wax, and an extra case, so their retainer doesn’t get wrapped in a napkin and thrown away in the mess hall garbage. Oh yes, that happens, a lot. It’s best to visit the orthodontist before camp for adjustments and to try and prevent any possible mishaps. In case a problem arises, many camp nurses are knowledgeable about braces and are able to deal with minor issues, until they can get your child to a specialist.
While we are on the subject of teeth, oral hygiene tends to take a backseat to summer fun. When is your child’s next dental office visit? If their regular check-up falls during summer camp, you’ll need to reschedule that appointment. We all know that one kid who was so proud that he never brushed his teeth all summer - ICK! So, get that dentist appointment on the calendar either for before or after camp.
Although this is not a critical appointment, If you have daughters, it may be a good idea to schedule a Mani-pedi for some girl time during the week before camp.
Write a Letter
Keep in mind that camp mail is much slower than regular mail and it may take up to a week for your child to receive your letters, and two weeks before you get one back. Add ‘write a letter’ to your to do list for the week before camp, so that your child will receive it during the first few days of camp. Most kids are more apt to respond to a letter than to write one on their own. Keep it simple, don’t ask too many questions, write things such as “Hope you are having a great time. Tell us about your bunkmates and counselors. What is your favorite activity so far? LYSM can’t wait to get your first letter.” Remember, the idea is to touch base and start a dialogue. Do not tell them you miss them, at least not until after Visiting Day.
The Bus Bag
Next, let’s discuss the Bus Bag. You have packed everything on the camp list in the camp trunks, so what else could your child possibly need to take on the bus with them?
Besides any dental appliance, an extra case, and their favorite pillow, you child may have a “woobie,” or transitional object that provides security and comfort. If having an attachment to this item embarrasses your child, one trick is to stuff it in their pillowcase, they can take it out at night. That way no one will see and no one will know. Activity books, such as Bam books, Mad Libs. Marsh pads, or Wreck This Journal are great for quiet bunk activities or to help stimulate conversation with your camper’s seatmate on the bus. Also any tactile toys such as Rubik’s cube, or a squishy toy for a fidgety child may be soothing for the long bus ride. Lastly, let’s not forget nut free snacks and water, because it’s a bus ride and doesn’t everyone get hungry when traveling?
IMPORTANT NOTE: Any forms, medications, instructions for counselors, or communication for the camp office, should be handed directly to the Bus Counselor. Do not pack these in the bus bag.
Time to Go
When everything is packed, and the kids are ready to leave, plan a special dinner or activity for the night before. For what it’s worth, sushi has become our family tradition. Keep the mood light and try to make sure everyone gets a good night’s rest. Conversations should focus on the positive. Wear sunglasses at the bus. As much as your heart is pounding, and the lump in your throat is burning, do not cry in front of your camper. Tell them to have a great time! Tell them you are so excited for them! That it’s going to be the best summer ever! Ask them to write and that you can’t wait to hear about it all! After the bus pulls away, only then can you sit in your car and have yourself a real, sobbing out loud, ugly cry. Or maybe not. Either way, the kids are off and you have a few weeks to relax, enjoy the summer and plan for Visiting Day! In the meantime, Refresh, Refresh, Refresh.....