VAN (CBSDFW.COM) – Summer camps and programs are beginning to fill up, and it’s a time when kids can unplug their cell phones, tablets and electronic gadgets. It’s also a time when in-person, human interaction becomes the norm.

“It’s critical, I think, that we remember we’re human beings, that we still need face-to-face interaction,” said Candice Myers, a mother who also does marketing for Sky Ranch Christian Camps in Van. “We need to get active. We need to get busy.”

Candice offered up some helpful tips for parents who are about to send their kids off to summer camp:

  • When it comes to packing, closed-toe shoes are protective and can be comfortable for an active child. Myers says many camps also require children to wear them, and soft, rubbery shoes might be a good idea since “they’re great for water.”
  • Using a large trunk is tougher than most suitcases. Plus, Candice said that kids can personalize them with stickers as well as photos of their favorite people and pets. The decorations can help in another way, too. Candice explained, “For kids in general, they don’t know how to start those conversations, but then someone says ‘Who is that?’ or ‘What is that?'”
  • Pack a mesh laundry bag, since it will help air out wet clothes.
  • Snacks, Candice suggests, shouldn’t be brought in bulk packages. “We say at camp that crumbs equals critters. So we want to pack things that you can eat in one sitting.”
  • Candice encourages parents to stay in touch, but in a more personal and memorable way than just a phone call. “The most important thing is a pen. That’s the most important tool that you have as a mom or a dad. And that’s in writing them letters.” She suggests writing about how much you care for them and hope for them, rather than letting them know about what’s going on back home.
  • No matter their age, know how ready your child feels about being away for a lengthy time, for the first time. Candice says you should know if your child is ready or really nervous.
  • If you’re looking around for ratings and suggestions on camps, Candice recommends the good old fashioned method of “word of mouth.” She says people you know and trust will be great resources, instead of just relying on things like internet reviews.

It can be scary saying farewell to your kids, but summer camp should also be time when they grow and have fun, too, with few worries. Get more information about local summer camps.

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