Archive | May, 2012

Ramp Up for Camp

28 May

As camp season is upon us, here are some reminders for a safe, happy, camping adventure for your kids!

 

Pre-Camp Preparations

Getting your child ready for camp starts long before you pack their bags.

  • Spend time browsing through brochures and/or visit the camp’s website with your child so they can get a feel for the camp cabins/dormitories and facilities.
  • Confirm that all medication forms have been properly completed by your child’s health care provider and that the information is current and accurate. Areas concerning specific medical issues, such as asthma, diabetes or seasonal/food allergies, should be reviewed to ensure they are updated.
  • Talk to your child’s health care provider about meningitis vaccination. Health officials recommend this vaccination for all kids at 11-12 with a booster at 16 because adolescents are more at risk for bacterial meningitis than others.
  • Familiarize yourself with camp regulations regarding food and money.
  • Research camp phone call regulations and discuss them with your child, as many camps do not allow cell phones or only permit calls at certain times of day.

 

Practical Packing

Before your child heads off to camp, make sure they have everything needed for a comfortable camp experience.

  • Begin packing several weeks in advance to avoid last minute shopping trips. Most camps will send a packing checklist to get you started.
  • Involve your child in the packing process to ensure they know where things are and to make them more comfortable with the camp experience.
  • Label your child’s clothing and other items you do not want them to lose with their name or initials.
  • Do not buy a brand new wardrobe. While one or two new items are fine, camp life can be rough on clothing.
  • Save plastic bags or a laundry bag for wet or dirty clothing.
  • Pack the essentials, including lip balm, sunscreen, bug repellant, protective sunglasses and a hat.

 

Have a Happy, Not Homesick, Camper

Camp can be an overwhelming experience for your child, especially for new campers.

  • Send a letter before camp begins to ensure your child has mail waiting for them upon arrival.
  • Encourage your child to leave CD players and iPods at home. Urge them to bring items that can be shared with other campers or cabin mates, such as board games or a deck of cards instead.
  • Prepare stamped envelopes or pre-addressed postcards so your child can mail you updates from camp.
  • For younger campers, pack a photo, stuffed animal or other      comfort item as a reminder of home.

Be Safe in the Water this Summer!

21 May

With school winding down, the summer swim season is here!  Here are some tips to make sure that your child stays safe this summer.  It’s too easy to forget about common water safety tips.

Keep your eyes on your children at all times, because it just takes a second for a tragedy to happen.  Here are some more tips to be safe.

 

Whooping Cough — It’s All over the US. What to do?

13 May

Every day I read in the news about new outbreaks or expanding outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) in states all across the U.S.  This is a vaccine preventable disease, but for a variety of reasons, parents are not getting their children vaccinated.  As grandparents, my husband and I were vaccinated, to make sure our newborn grandchildren would be protected.

Read more on this post, Running Chicken.

 

Red Rover, Hopscotch, and Running through the Sprinklers

2 May

Frolicking in the backyard, running under the hose, playing hopscotch, Red Rover, jump rope – all of these wonderful childhood activities that are magically passed down from one generation of kids to the next.  As a parent and then as a grandparent, you get to relive your childhood, by playing these same games with your children and grandchildren. What is different, though, between when we grew up and when our children grew up, is that so many of the diseases that we suffered through are now vaccine-preventable.

 

It is wonderful to know that a child does not have to suffer through mumps, measles, chickenpox, polio, etc.  I remember having mumps, measles, and chicken pox, and how awful I felt.  I know that my mother lost a sister to diphtheria. As a child, I didn’t know that these diseases could potentially be deadly as well.  As a child, why would you even be thinking those thoughts?    However, as a parent who lost a child to a vaccine-preventable disease, I take nothing for granted, and I am so grateful that kids today can be spared from these diseases.  Too many parents think that these diseases are no big deal, or that they are a “rite of passage.”  If only they knew, what it was like to lose a child, and then find out your child didn’t have to die.  We must all be proactive and make sure our loved ones are vaccinated, so that they will be around to teach the next generation the joys of childhood games.