Dr. Cindy Gellner has some simple tips to best prepare your child—and yourself—for their time away from home.">

Jun 4, 2018 — Summer break can mean summer camps for many kids. But being away from home, in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by strangers can be scary for your young camper. Pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner has some simple tips to best prepare your child—and yourself—for their time away from home.

Interview

Dr. Gellner: Summer break means summer camps for many kids. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner, and I'll tell you how to prepare your child for summer camp.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering the Healthy Kids Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: It may be your child's first time to summer camp or their fifth time, but each time can be a little intimidating, not only for your child but also you. For many kids, it may be the first time a child is away from their parents or home for an extended period of time. They'll be away from familiar settings, sleeping in tents or cabins with other kids they've never met before, having camp counselors that are strangers and they've been taught not to interact with strangers.

It sounds scary just talking about it. So that's one of the first things you as a parent can do to help your child prepare is to talk about camp in a positive way. Tell them it's going to be a week of fun, new adventures, new friends, and making memories.

Another tip is to have your child pick out what summer camp they would like to go to. There are so many options out there. Find a camp that focuses on things they like to do. Let them look at websites with you to see photos of other kids having fun. Maybe they will have photos of the camp staff so your child will recognize someone in charge when they get there. Some camps even have kickoff picnics to meet the staff before the camp season begins. Sometimes just knowing who will be looking after them can be very comforting to a child.

Many campsites also have frequently asked questions sections for concerns parents have about what happens in common situations and also outline specific advice for how to get your child ready for camp in terms of what gear is needed, what the theme of the week is, etc. Having that information often helps reassure kids that another child has been through the same thing before and the camp knows how to handle it. This is where knowledge is power. Be sure to acknowledge their concerns and questions and answer them in a way that is reassuring and positive.

The bottom line is the more excited you are about all the cool things your child will get to do at summer camp, the more excited they will be about going and the more likely it is that they will have a great experience.

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