When it comes to summer camp planning, you’re usually juggling schedules and signing up way in advance. When the big first day of camp finally arrives, make sure you’re prepared with a few simple steps brought to you by moms just like you, who have been there, done that and made it through. Read on for our top summer camp prep tips any parent can use.

photo: iStock

1. Stock up on supplies.

You’ll need extra Band-Aids on hand, bug spray and sunscreen. Plenty of sunscreen. Find the best brand and buy two, because most camps where kids are outdoors will want you to send a sunscreen and often bug repellant with your kiddo. To help your kiddos apply the sunscreen to their faces effectively, consider a stick lick this one. Great for little noses. 

photo: Name Bubbles

2. Label everything.

Do yourself a solid and order some preprinted, peel and stick labels like these ones. Then stick them on everything: hats, water bottles, sunscreen, even lip balm. Don’t assume your kid will keep track of everything even if they do a good job of it during the school year. It’s summer camp. All bets are off.

photo: iStock

3. Be prepared for the aftercamp affect.

Just like after school, kids that finish a day of summer camp are usually hungry when you pick them up. Keep some post-camp snacks in your car or backpack for pickup. Be aware that kids are often tired, emotional or even cranky after the first few days of camp. Having a cold fresh bottle of water and their favorite tunes to play can help them decompress from a day jam-packed with sensory processing.

4. Do a dry run. Then add 15 minutes to it.

Unless your kiddo's summer camp is at the same location as their school, try out the commute before the first day. Time yourself to see how long it will take, and don't forget to factor in things like the pick-up line or a crowded parking lot. Many camps also require a parent to sign or check-in and check out their child each day. 

photo: IStock

5. Order more than one camp shirt.

If your camp has cute, brightly colored shirts it's worth ordering more than one so you aren't constantly washing them every night. Kids get next-level grubby at summer camps, so this is a mom hack that will save you time. 

photo: iStock

6. Dress for success.

As previously mentioned, kids don't stay clean at summer camp so don't send them in their best clothes. Easy on/off pants or shorts for quick bathroom breaks are an essential since kids won't always know the layout of the place, especially on the first day. That being said, accidents happen, so pack a complete change of clothes for your kid in their pack each day. We suggest a large Ziplock bag that you can label with your child's name, which can double as a dry-bag for any wet or muddy clothes that get sent home. 

7. Update your emergency contact list.

Take into consideration vacations and work schedules in the summer, and update your just-in-case contacts accordingly. If it's usually your best mom friend but you know they'll be out of town two out of the three weeks your kid is in camp, designate an alternative. 

—Amber Guetebier

featured image: Anny Patterson via Pexels 

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