COVID, camps, and kids present some unique challenges.
So far kids younger than twelve haven’t been eligible for the vaccine. We know they can get COVID and while generally, not as severe, this hasn’t meant without serious consequences for a small number.
More and more parents are vaccinated. Although kids hanging out with other kids, still creates a risk of contamination and spread for those at home. With all that in mind, some parents will be particularly concerned with their kids engaging in summer camps and activities.
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Fortunately, almost all those organizations providing summer services and camps for kids are following strict public health protocols. Protocols typically made available in writing or on organizations’ websites. You can also find the safety guidelines for Ontario Day Camps here.
Things parents can do to support the effort of organizations providing summer services to kids include reinforcing such messages as:
Hand washing while at a place of activity;
Wearing one’s mask;
Not sharing food or drinks;
Reporting if feeling unwell;
Following the direction of instructors with regard to social distancing.
Parents may concern themselves that teaching such behaviors to kids is a difficult task.
Co-parents must remember that in their role, they have taught their children many other life skills, be it toileting, bike riding, cleaning up after themselves, using manners, etc. Just an add-on to all those other parental expectations parents naturally set.
Reviewing expectations as set out by the camp or organization with your child, may help the child better realize this is an expectation of the service and not just the parent. Parents can discuss and problem solve with their child any concerns arising before attending. If a concern comes up once attending a program, then there too, parents can discuss the situation with the service provider and/or their child to problem solve.
Summer activities, like camps, can help children socialize again and enjoy the company of their friends. Following guidelines and problem solving where necessary can add to their life skills.
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW is a Canadian Social Worker in private practice. He is recognized from his 65 episodes of the hit show Newlywed/Nearly Dead, to over 650 columns as the parenting expert of a major metropolitan newspaper, to more than 600 media appearances, to his book, Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout Canada and the US and helps family peacemakers grow their practice.