Picking the Perfect Summer Camp for Your Kids
Not sure where to begin when picking a summer camp for your kids? The options are endless. Everything from day camps to overnight camps to sports camps, computer/technology camps, and faith-based camps. With a myriad of choices parents can become overwhelmed. When I had to choose a summer camp for the first time I had no idea where to begin, so I came up with four basic questions that helped me narrow down the list of choices.
- Where? The first question is very simple, where do your kids want go? The simple answer is to ask them. Sit down with your kids and find out what they would like to do this summer. Do they have a favorite sport or activity? My son is active and loves just about any sport so this was a quick discussion. An excellent resource for information on summer camp options in New Hampshire can be found at parentingnh.com.
- Day or Night? Once you’ve narrowed down the type of camp, another option to consider is day camp or overnight camp? Or both? Day camps are exactly as stated, a camp that runs during the day, whereas overnight (also referred to as residential) camps involve campers staying overnight in tents, cabins or even teepees. I decided to stick with day camps when choosing a camp the first time, even though my son was excited about the idea of going “camping” for a week.
- Location, Location, Location! The location of the camp is also an important factor to consider when picking summer camp. Are there any camps close to home or work, making the drive convenient? This is particularly important for day camps. If not nearby, you may need to consider car-pooling.
- How Much? Cost is always a major determining factor in selecting a summer camp. They’re not cheap. Will the options selected work within your budget? Ideally you’ll have several options to choose from. Look into early bird specials. Some camps offer a discount for signing up early, I did this and was able to save a few bucks! I also looked into a Dependent Care Flex Spending Account which allows you to be reimbursed on a pre-tax basis for child care expenses. In some cases day camp expenses can be considered dependent care services. Make sure to check with you accountant or tax advisor.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, do your research on availability, application deadlines and any special considerations your child may need. Going through this process will give you the peace of mind that your child will have an amazing experience. My son had a great first time experience at camp, due in part because he got to have a say in the type of camp he wanted to go to. Before you know it, it’ll be camp season again, so don’t leave it to the last minute. Good luck!
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