March Break is almost upon us, and you’ve decided the kids will benefit most by going to camp all week. Now that you’ve chosen a camp and told the kids they can’t spend the whole week playing video games and raiding the fridge, it’s time to figure out how you (and the kids) can get the most out of this year’s spring break.
We wanted to make sure you got the most helpful tips out there, so we spoke with a few camp professionals to get their take. They came up with the following list of tips to help you get the most out of March Break camp.
And don’t worry if you’re still on the fence about camp; we’ve got some great pointers about why kids should go to camp this March Break, how they benefit from camp, and how to choose the best camp for your kids, to help you make your decision.
1. Embrace new experiences
Parents want a positive and enriching experience for their kids, while kids want to have fun and make friends. Camp can give everybody what they want; new experiences help kids learn and push their limits, while also having a good time and being social with other children.
Kristina from Avenue Road Arts suggested that you find a camp that goes above and beyond what kids learn in school. “Look for programs with many years of experience, qualified faculty, and a nurturing environment.”
Pamela from U of T Math Camps said, “If you are looking for an educational camp, make sure that the materials are presented in a fun, more hands-on way than in school, or the child may think this is just another week of school.” Even if you want them to learn something new, it should still be fun and engaging.
And finally, don’t be pressured by other parents, or even by your kids, into sending your kids to camp with all their school friends. “Don’t stress about going somewhere with a whole bunch of school friends – let your child branch out,” said Robyn from Adventure Valley. Making new friends is part of the fun!
2. Ask about your child’s progress
On the first day, introduce yourself to the camp staff to show your interest. Maytal from The Second City said, “Parents should get to know the camp staff and admin team and feel comfortable sharing their child’s experiences with them.”
Robyn from Adventure Valley agreed: “Communicate well with the camp so they are aware of any special attention your child needs – this way you can be more relaxed!” Stressing out all week isn’t going to help anyone.
Talking with the staff can also help you track progress and alert you to any problems. Melisa from TAC Sports recommended that you “talk to the coaches and director every morning and at the end of the day about your child’s progress.” That way you can help your kids over any hurdles they come to, or just help them celebrate their good day. It’s also a great time for you to let the staff know more about your kids.
3. Find a program that matches your child’s interest
This tip can be hard to follow; sometimes you just want the kids to be more active, so you send them to sports camp, despite the fact that they are obsessed with playing chess, or maybe you want them to be more creative at art camp, while they would rather play soccer all day. Try to make the decision together with your kids, so that you can both get what you want.
“A child isn’t going to get anything out of a camp that they don’t want to be in, and in many cases they will end up not wanting to go each day and will cause a disruption for you and for others in the camp. You really need to find something that the child enjoys and wants to go to each day,” said Pamela from U of T Math Camps.
4. Discuss the day over dinner
To help your kids get the most out of camp, you will need to make an effort to be as engaged as possible. You’ve asked their camp leaders and directors (see above), so now it’s time to ask your kids. Loretta from the Royal Conservatory School recommends that you “set aside time each day for a mini-debrief about the day. Show curiosity in your students’ adventures in camp. If your students are having a difficult time, listen and help them come up with strategies for turning their experience around.”
Talking to the kids about their day will help them remember their experiences, and can also help you learn more about what they’re interested in and how their social life is going. Showing interest in their lives also shows your kids that you care, making them more likely to come to you next time they are having a hard time.
5. Continue using new skills at home
After you talk with your kids about the things they have learned and what they like about their camp, try putting your newfound knowledge to work. “This knowledge can help you make more informed decisions about the types of extra-curricular activities you might offer them throughout the year,” said Loretta from the Royal Conservatory School.
Jennifer from Pawsitively Pets added, “A big part of a new experience being worthwhile is the knowledge, new skills, relationships or lessons that can be applied in day-to-day life. Keep the new friendships your child has made. Continue with more classes in the subject matter. Practice the skills they’ve learned at home and ask them to teach you.”
6. Make it convenient
March Break should also actually be a break, for you and the kids, from the monotony of the school year. Choose a camp that isn’t too far from home, so you don’t spend all your time shuttling the kids to and from, and choose a schedule that works for everyone. Kristina from Avenue Road Arts said, “Parents may also want to consider some practical aspects of the program. Check if the facility offers before and after camp care, which allows for early and late pick-up.”
You can also plan the week to spend more time at home with the kids, or find a camp that lets the kids have a break from routine. Joe from Double ’00’ recommended, “Find a schedule that works for them and you; a half day camp may be just the right amount of time away from home.”
Let us help make it easier for you to find a quality camp that fits with your needs (and you child’s interests). Check out our online directory of Camps for Kids and plan your March Break today.
READ MORE LIKE THIS:
- Why Should You Send Your Kids to March Break Camp?
- How To Find the Right Camp for Your Kids: Tips From Camp Pros
- How Do Kids Benefit From Camp?
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