Keeping kids busy all summer is one of the most important things a working parent should think about. Many parents consider caregivers to manage work and family demands, but I would suggest that you enroll your kids in a summer camp available in your community, as there are different kinds of summer camps available to suit your desires, from day camps to month-long summer camps. Summer camps are a great way to teach your children to build within themselves the value of independence and self-esteem by helping them learn new things through outdoor activities. Deciding on the right summer camp is very important. It is not just about your financial capabilities and convenience. Keep in mind that summer camps are also a form of vacation, and it can be an experience that teaches your kids values and skills. First and foremost, find time to sit down with your kids and decide together whether to go to a day or overnight camp. Explain to them the differences of each camp. This discussion can also help you in knowing your kid’s likes and dislikes. Ask them about their interests, expectations and the things they want to explore. Always incorporate the kind of activities your kids want when choosing a camp, and most importantly, do not force your kids to join the camp if they are not interested. After listing your goals, it is time to research for the perfect summer camps in your area that can meet your expectations. Summer camps now focus on different areas such as: hobby classes, adventure camps, camps for nature and outdoor awareness, arts and crafts, cooking classes or computer courses, just to name a few. Camp's objectives After examining all of these camps, you can slowly narrow down the list while discussing this with your kids and choose one that you and your kids have decided upon. Parents become anxious as the school year winds down and the long days of vacation are near. If you find yourself in this situation, you are probably thinking about which summer camps you have as options. There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing the right programme for your kids. Read on for important tips on which programme best suits the needs of your children. Before you start sifting through the many options you have, make sure you understand what goals you have for your children. There are several different themed programme and you want to choose one that suits your goals. For instance, there are programmes geared towards education, religion, sports or arts. Find out which major theme you want your children to participate in. Once you know the kind of programme you want to send your child to, you can start looking for programmes that suit this theme. If age-appropriate, you may want to ask for your child's opinion. Being a part of this process can create an atmosphere of excitement, anticipation and ownership on their behalf. When going about the selection process, it is very important to consider your child's needs. All children are different and a summer programme should cater to your child's mental, emotional and physical needs. When you opt for a programme that caters to these needs, your child is more likely to make the most out of such an experience. Decide whether you want to participate in a day or overnight camp. This is an important decision to make and there are several factors to consider. For instance, is your child mature enough to be away at camp alone? If you find that you are not comfortable sending them to an overnight camp, opt for a day camp that you will be able to commute daily too. You may want to start with a day programme for younger children and later on move to an extended overnight programme. There are several organizations that sponsor vacation programmes. You may want to find out which organization, and what their philosophy is, before committing to a programme. This goes back to the type of camp and theme you are interested in, and how to tie it all together. If your child has special needs, make sure the camp can address these needs. Such programmes can be a pretty big financial investment. This is why planning ahead can help you budget in such costs. When you plan early, you are able to get your finances straight and plan for such activities. Avoid being caught off guard by waiting until the last minute and realizing that this is an expensive venture to take on. Many summer camps have a backup plan in case a child gets very homesick. Ask what they would do in these situations. As the parent, you also have to figure out what to do if the child is too homesick to stay at the camp. If this is the first time your family experiences such programmes, it will be good to have a back-up plan on hand in case you find yourself dealing with such a situation. Derek Tan writes articles relating to education. Please visit Canadian International School for more information.