| Dubai, United Arab Emirates


How to survive summer camp

10 ways to making sure your summer camp decision is the right one

© ITP Images

Unsure about how to involve the kids in your camp decision? Worried about them being lonely? Not keen on waterworks every time you drop them at the gate? We’ve got you covered

1 Confucius says “choose Wisely”
There are so many different types of summer camps to choose from so make sure you pick one that is suitable for your child and bears some resemblance to the kind of things they like to do, as the football crazy kid will not thank you for signing them up for a course in crochet.

2 Ask Around
It’s always good for your kids to find a familiar friend from school or nursery in the same camp, so ask the parents you know which organisations they recommend and send your camper to the same one. Personal recommendations are great and pals are happy to stick together.

3 Involve Them
Talk to your child about the kind of things they will be doing at summer camp, how long the day will be and how many days they will be attending. If you discuss their expectations and involve them in the process of choosing a camp, they’ll hopefully be happier to give it a go.

4 Stay Positive
Show enthusiasm for this fabulous adventure your child is about to experience and try not to focus on the fact that there’s nothing else to do and there’s really no choice but for them to attend. Even if they don’t know anyone there, reinforce the fact that they will make new friends. Like it or lump it is not a happy start to camp.

5 Pack Smart
Most camps will provide a list of what your child needs to bring so get organised beforehand and make sure they have everything for the day ahead as being unprepared is unsettling for them. If in doubt see our handy checklist. Sneak their snuggly in the rucksack if they want that too.

6 Follow The Rules
Give yourselves plenty of time to get to camp, as rushing around is panic inducing for both parent and child. Arrive on time with all relevant forms and paperwork filled in, including emergency numbers so everyone starts the day together and your child know you can be contacted if they need you.

7 Keep Goodbyes Brief
Don’t hang around with an anxious looks, as kids will pick up on parent’s insecurities. Keep partings brief and confident and always remember to stick on a happy smile! Separation anxiety mixed with guilt is not a positive parting emotion, and kids usually have a great time so keep that in mind when leaving.

8 Don’t give up
There may be tears and protestations but don’t give in and give up too easily. Some little angels save all this fuss and shenanigans for pick up and drop off especially for their parents, when they’ve been having a ball the rest of the day. Use your instinct and ask the staff if your child seems happy at camp when you’re not around.

9 Pick up sharpish
No child wants to be the last one left in the hall when all the other kids have gone home, so keep to the camp timings and try not to be late when picking up. The staff won’t be happy if they are delayed by your tardiness, so keep an eye on the time and don’t keep your tired camper waiting or lonely.

10 Listen and learn
Show enthusiasm for what their day has been like, and get your child to tell you all the fantastic things they got up to. Praise them for their achievements, and find out about the fun they had, so hopefully you won’t have to resort to bribery and they’ll be chomping at the bit to go back the next day.

By Time Out Dubai Kids staff
Time Out Dubai,

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