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July 02, 2019

Summer Sleep Away Camp Health Tips for Parents

Sophia L. Thomas DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

Overnight camps can be a great way for kids to boost their confidence, make new friends and explore different boundaries. Whether it’s one week or whole summer, camps teach kids independence and resiliency. Still, sending kids off to camp can be hard for parents who are used to being in charge. Here are five tips to help parents set their kids up for success:

  1. Fill out the forms honestly. Medical forms provide useful information for camp staff, so include everything from allergies to behavioral concerns so they can be prepared to give your child the best experience.
  2. Keep your sick child home. Missing the first few days of camp for sickness is a real bummer, but it’s even worse to expect your child to manage camp expectations when they’re not their best. 
  3. Teach self-advocacy. Role play to ensure your child can ask for an extra blanket or point out a suspicious rash. Most problems arise when kids are silent about their needs.
  4. Promote good self-care. Bathing, wearing sunscreen, brushing teeth and changing clothes are musts, and good hygiene will help keep kids well when others are passing germs with their mac and cheese.
  5. Meet the health staff. Make a special trip to the health facility and meet the staff so your camper knows where and how to access care when they need it. The camp may be staffed with a nurse practitioner (NP). To learn more about NPs, visit www.wechoosenps.org.

Summer camp can be a great learning experience for kids. Parents, make sure to do your part to help ensure kids are healthy and happy while they’re away!