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10 Parenting Tips from Camp Counselors

10_Parenting_Tips_From_Camp_CounselorsBy Audrey “Sunshine” Monke, Camp Director

At one time in their lives, many of the parents I know were camp counselors. Those same people have told me that their time spent as counselors was great training ground for parenting. Among other things, they learned to comfort, encourage, set goals, and resolve disputes — all things we experience daily in our lives as moms and dads.

However, not every parent has had the benefit of camp counselor training. In fact, most parents have had NO training at all. Perhaps they took a Lamaze class or two, but we all know that having the kid is not the hardest part!

I’ve often lamented that all parents should be required to go through some training, at least the same training camp counselors do (a minimum of one week at most camps). Unfortunately, that is not the case, nor is it realistic. So the best we can do for those who were never camp counselors is offer a few tried and true tips from a few outstanding folks who were:

20140823-chicken-016381. Practice catching kids doing the right thing.20140702-sun--5784

2. Check in with each child one-on-one every day.

3. Establish fun daily traditions: share highs & lows at dinner or bedtime, do riddles, read a book out loud, play games together, collect family memories.

4. Sing and dance together A LOT.

5. Smile and stay positive. Apologize for any crabbiness.

6. Address difficult issues privately and by focusing on the ISSUE not the child.20140703-sun-01278

7. Do team-building activities like sharing goals and dreams.

8. Get unplugged and focus on face-to-face communication.

9. Get outside and get dirty.

10. Follow a predictable schedule and enforce rules consistently.

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