With so many summer camp programs available, how is a parent to choose? There are several factors that go into picking the perfect summer camp for your child including money, location, and the overall interest of your child. A summer camp program should not only be affordable and convenient, but also include activities that your child will truly enjoy. The following steps are what every parent needs to consider and ensure that their child has the best summer ever!

Choosing a Camp Type

Decide what you want the overall goal of the summer camp to be for your child. Do you want them to further their education during the summer? Then pick an academic camp! Does your child love martial arts? Choose a martial arts camp! When you are able to pinpoint what you want your child to gain from their summer experience, choosing a camp will be that much easier. Consult your child and allow them to have some say in what they would like to do for the summer. Align that with your expectations and budget. A six week summer camp in Disney World may sound exciting to your child but may not be practical. In that case you might want to find a summer camp that allows the children to participate in Disney-themed activities.

Choosing a Location

Now that the type of camp you’re interested in has been chosen, it is now time to decide where the camp should be. Take into strong consideration the commute of dropping off and picking up the child. Would you prefer a camp near your home, a relative’s home or the area where you work? Brightside Academy camps are located near parks and public transportation, something that many of our parents point out as a plus in choosing our programs. Most parents have a long work schedule and it is important that the summer camp’s hours are adaptable to the parent’s availability. If you or anyone else is not able to provide transportation for the child, seek summer camp programs in which transportation costs to and from camp activities is included.

Deciding How Much to Spend

Although, you want your child to have the best summer experience, but you also have to consider the expenses associated with the program. Make a list of all your needs for the summer camp. These could be things like:

  • Safety
  • Affordability and cost
  • Education program
  • Fun activities
  • Staff preparation
  • Convenient location
  • Meals included

Think of a reasonable amount you are willing to pay for these must haves. Remember that specialty camps, which are camps that focus on one type of activity, are more expensive than traditional day camps. At these types of camps every field trip may not be included in the weekly or monthly payments. If you don’t want to spend a lot on one summer camp program, find a camp that offers a day to day schedule but also allows the child to go on several field trips. Brightside Academy summer camps are structured this way. In addition, the cost of our program includes a t-shirt, nutritious breakfast, lunch and snacks, and also field trips fees.

Learn about Brightside Academy’s summer camp program here!

Following these steps choosing the perfect summer camp program becomes much easier! All there is left to do is to search your favorite local directory and keep in mind what you are looking for. Google and Yelp are always a great place to start! There are also several summer camp online directories including the American Camp Association’s website. Have any useful tips for choosing the perfect summer camp? We would love to hear from you! Be sure to like and share our article and leave us a note in the comments!

So you’ve been busy raising a child (or children) for some time and just found out you’re pregnant again. You wonder how your young child will take the news.

The truth is that older children who have welcomed siblings in the past are better prepared for a new baby to join the family. Those who experience the change for the first time are usually the ones who need more preparation.

What can you do to best prepare your young child for the new baby arriving in just a few months?

Here are 10 tips to prepare your child for a new sibling. Some of these ideas can even get your child excited about having a new member in the family:

Read books.
There are many great books that talk about the experience of adding a new member to the family. Don’t just read the book, get into the story and ask your child questions or relate the story to what is going on your family. Here are a few books to consider:
  • I Am a Big Sister! or I Am a Big Brother! by Caroline Jayne Church
  • I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole
  • You Were the First by Patricia MacLachlan
  • God Gave Us Two by Lisa Tawn Bergren
  • New Baby; by Mercer Mayer
  • The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby by Stan Berenstain · Random House Children’s Book

Use people you know.
Tell your child about families he/she where there are siblings. Point out any recent new babies in your family or friends’ families and talk about the changes they experienced.

Get Creative.
Have your child work on crafts themed on new babies. You can find plenty of craft ideas through Google searches. Here are some additional ones to inspire you:

  • Make construction paper strollers or infant car seats
  • Draw the food the baby will eat their first year
  • Color before- and after-baby family pictures and frame them
  • Paint girl and boy themed pottery

Talk about your child as a baby.
Your child was at one point a new member of your family. Spend time showing pictures of them when they were newborns and how your family prepared for his /her arrival. Tell them about special moments you shared together and any cute stories you remember from them when they were infants. Bring out baby clothes, stuffed animals, anything you have to show as a memory of the child’s first year.

Buy a special baby gift together.
If age appropriate, have your child pick out a gift they can take to the hospital for their newborn baby brother or sister. Don’t make it an in and out trip. Talk about it before hand, make lists with them about possible choices and take time for them to find the special gift at the store.

Bake cookies. 
Bake new-baby themed cookies with your child. This can be as simple as making regular cookies and decorating them with baby-inspired sprinkles or icing colors or as elaborate as getting baby themes cookie cutters and decoration kits. Find examples online or on magazines of nicely decorated cookies and use it as template to follow when you bake yours at home. Have fun preparing, baking and then decorating your goodies. Take pictures of your creations to show them once their brother or sister is born.

Make a fuss.
Your child will become a big brother/sister to their new sibling. Make a big deal about it. Tell them how they will be an example to their younger sibling. Talk about the things they will help with when the baby arrives and the important role of older brothers/sisters in families. Point these things out throughout the day. It will keep things positive as the change gets closer. Also take a moment to point out proper ways to touch, behave, and be around a small baby.

Ask for their opinion on baby items.
Show them pictures of the items you need and ask for your child’s opinion on colors or designs for bibs, sheets, pacifiers and similar items. Children like to share what they think and love the feeling of being able to make decisions. Make it a point to ask what they think and be extra interested in their answers. Ask why they liked a particular color or why they think a certain item will work better for the baby. In the end you will make the decision on what you end up buying but trying to include them in the process will make a difference for them.

Think BIG.
There are plenty of big sister / big brother items out there. Point out how cool these items are: t-shirts, cups, stuffed animals, etc. Buy or make some of these items yourself. It does not have to be expensive. Your local discount store may have items for a dollar with the words written on them. To make your own, just buy basic items, then use paint or craft letters to add words to them. It’s simple to think big with your child!

Make THEM feel special.
Instead of being about the new baby, this is actually all about your small child who will become a sibling. Do something that focuses on how special he/she is. It can be anything from moving them to the “older” sibling room/bed, taking a special trip or planning an outing to their favorite place just to celebrate them. Whatever it is, make sure it is positive and a celebration of having your child in the family.

As you can see, there are many things you can do to prepare your child to welcome a new brother or sister. The main thing is to start talking about the change in advance and keeping things positive.

Finally, the key to this transition is to remember that all children like to feel and know THEY are special. A parent’s job is to help their current children feel loved for who they are before, and after, their new sibling arrives at the hospital.

Best wishes as you welcome baby to your family!

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