Preparing for Camp
Diabetes camp is a positive step toward independence for parents and children alike. Parents can relax knowing their children have medical oversight and are having a blast with new friends. It is important to feel comfortable with the camp you choose and to prepare your child for the experience. Call the camp and speak with the Camp Director. If you can visit the site before the season to learn the routine, see the facility, meet staff and campers. If a visit isn’t possible, ask for a copy of the daily schedule and last year’s parent guide. Engage your child in the process by talking about activities, the packing list, and new friends!
Some specific hints:
Share information honestly and openly with your camp’s leaders. They NEED to know about your child’s asthma, food allergies, anxiety, or other needs, to prepare to handle what may come up. Surprises in behavior or medical conditions do not lead to success!
If your child is young, have him/her practice taking a shower.
Get a calendar and mark down the days until camp! It’ll be an excellent springboard for conversation with your child and you can address his or her concerns.
Send clothes that can take mud, rain, paint and rough-and-tumble play.
Keep valuables at home.
Prepare your child to communicate by letter or postcard, NOT by phone. Pack pre-addressed and stamped supplies. They just might write a letter to you that will become a lifelong keepsake.
Do not promise to talk to your child by phone during camp. Do NOT send a phone to camp.
Homesickness is normal for children and even for many teens. Usually, it lasts for less than 12 hours. Two tips:
- Help your child anticipate that camp life has a different schedule than home life and different foods than at home.
- Trust the staff to handle your child’s adjustment. If you cannot trust the leadership of a camp – diabetes camp or not – choose another camp!
Read this excellent article: 10 Tips to Prepare for First-Time Overnight Campers from American Camp Association New England