School camp doesn’t just mean a whole bunch of fun for your kids – it also means you’ll have a bit of time off for yourself, while the kids learn some valuable lessons about life and adventure. Naturally, sending the kids off on school camp can be a bit nerve wracking – there are bound to be a million thoughts running through your head in the days leading up to their departure. Did you pack them warm enough clothes? Have they got plenty of money for souvenirs and snacks while on the road? Do they know what to do in case of emergency?
Don’t worry, school camp is meant to be fun for both parents and kids, and if you’re the type to feel a little stressed when separation calls, we’ve created a handy list of things to prepare before sending the kids off. You’ll feel relaxed knowing everything is taken care of, and your kids will feel ready and prepared to take on the world on their own for a few days. Let’s get to it!
Get important discussions out of the way
Perhaps the most important thing to prepare before sending your kids off to school camp is to make sure you’ve spoken to the organisers beforehand. Letting the only other adults on duty at school camp know about any allergies, medications, illnesses, or issues (such as bedwetting or sleepwalking) is absolutely vital. They will be the ones held responsible for your child while they’re away, and they must be informed of absolutely anything that may be of importance. Make sure you’ve spoken to an organiser or teacher beforehand to keep your children safe and secure.
Now this one will depend on the age of your children, but for the younger ones, make sure they’re fully aware of the tasks and self care that’s required on a daily basis. This means they know how to properly brush their teeth, apply sunscreen, turn on the hot and cold taps for a shower, and so on. You don’t want your child to return with yellowing teeth and grubby hands! Make sure they know to wash their hands and faces, and make sure they’re aware of the importance of self care!
The ‘homesickness’ chat
It’s incredibly common for some kids to feel anxious or homesick while away at school camp, and this is normal. Try to ease your child into the idea of being apart for a few days, and make sure they communicate any anxieties, fears, or problems they may have. Address these issues with them and let them know that it’s completely normal and they will be taken care of. Try to help them focus on the fun and excitement that’s awaiting them, and let them know that you’ll be waiting at home when they return. If you feel as though your child is especially anxious, speak to an organiser and see if it’s possible to schedule a nightly phone call to keep your child’s mind at ease.
The packing list!
Your kids’ school may already provide a camping checklist, but if not, draw one up with your child to involve them and get them excited for the trip ahead. Don’t forget to include sunscreen, insect repellant, and a good waterproof poncho in case of any rain. If there is any hiking or athletics involved, be sure your kids have appropriate shoes. It’s also always a good idea to pack a bit of money for your kids to spend on snacks, water, or a phone call if they feel as though they miss home. Stress that this money is for emergencies or they may quickly spend it on lollies and have none left when they actually need it!
Label, label, label
At a busy school camp full of young, excited, and unsupervised children, it’s highly likely that items will get lost or mixed up with another child’s belongings. To help make sure that your kids return with the exact same stuff they took with them, label all their clothes and belongings with their name, address, and your phone number if possible. If anything is left behind, the camp organisers will alert the teachers who will then make sure the stuff finds its way back to your child’s backpack. Get the kids to help you print off and stick on the labels for an extra pre-camp activity!
Your own plans…
Finally, don’t forget that school camp is also a time for you to relax and rejuvenate! With the kids away, the time is all yours to spend the way you like it. Want to stock up on some wine? Organise some dates with friends or loved ones? Make those plans as soon as you can, because the time will surely fly without the kids at home…