As any kid knows, summer’s arrival means school is out. As any working parent knows, summer’s arrival means a child care (and possibly a financial) headache.
Until they enter kindergarten, children of working parents are usually in year-round day care programs or watched by a year-round sitter. But, as soon as your child begins school, she’ll want to have fun, and you’ll need to make sure she’s well cared for while you’re at work.
If you’ve decided on an all-day or part-time summer camp (or even a sleep-away camp), shop around carefully. Although lifelong memories and important values are solidified through the wonderful experience of summer camp, it’s important to choose the right camp for your child. Before packing the duffel bag, consider the following:
1. The staff must be excellent! Get references on the counselors your child will have. At the minimum, make sure that the camp administration has done so.
2. The national average for staff-camper ratio is one counselor for seven campers. How does the camp you are considering compare?
3. What are the safety standards in high-risk activities?
4. Who are the other campers? Is your child going with friends? Do you expect her to make new friends once she arrives? Find out if all the children are from a specific geographic area because you don’t want your child to feel left out.
5. Find out what the menus are like and discuss any allergies or eating habits beforehand.
6. Does the cost seem reasonable? Shop around and compare prices. If you think a loan might be necessary, come in to Cooperative Teachers Credit Union to see how we can help.
7. Find out the accident history and safety history of the camp.
8. Find out if there are religious viewpoints endorsed or disagreed with at the camp.
9. Ask about the camper return rate from last summer. That will tell you a lot about how much kids enjoyed their experience.