Your to-do list is checked off, the camp paperwork is complete and the bags are packed -- but have you prepared your child emotionally and behaviorally for a successful and fun camp experience? Jill Tipograph, author of Your Everything Summer Guide & Planner, share tips on preparing your child for day camp, overnight camp and teen programs.
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How to prepare for teen programs
While your teen may think they are ready to conquer the world, parents know otherwise. Most teens have more freedom and unstructured down time at residential teen programs than at camp. Help them transition to their away-from-home program with these tips:
- Review with your teen the program's guidelines, requirements, and restrictions regarding electronics, laptops, cell phone policies, clothing, amount of permissible luggage (remember they have to transport it!), and the need to respect these rules as well as the program's staff.
- Reinforce the zero tolerance policy for alcohol, drugs and unacceptable behavior. Teens will be sent home if rules are broken! I have seen programs send teens home even if parents are away (with a pre-phone call) -- so have a back-up plan in case this happens.
- Educate your child about new areas or countries they may visit. Cultures away from their homes can differ.
- Establish a budget for your teen's discretionary spending and discuss in advance how it is to be spent. Giving a teen carte blanche with a credit card is a mistake! Help your teen learn to budget money. A debit card to which you can easily add money is a great management tool.
- Remind your teen you expect them to return home with a new skill or behavior, greater emotional maturity and growth. While teens need a break from their hard year of academics, their summer experience should be productive and fun.
Emotional preparation paves the way for a more successful summer transition and success. Once you send your kids on their way, be sure to enjoy some newly found time for yourself.
More Camp Chatter:
Want more tips from Jill? Check out her site EverythingSummer.com and read her Everything Summer blog here. You can also connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.