Top Rated Piano Lessons for Kids

Piano Lessons for Kids in NYCThere are many reasons for our kids learn to play piano aside from it being a pretty impressive party skill.  Piano lessons help with concentration, discipline, listening, reading, and creativity.  Playing piano helps develop emotions and build confidence.  Your kids can start as early as 4 or 5 but any age is the time to begin a lifelong love of music.  Below are the best classes and teachers in the NYC area.

High Note NYC Piano and Vocal Instruction (E27th)

Discounted 5-lesson pack and trial class available.  One-on-one weekly sessions  incorporate theory and ear training with piano playing while following method books and appropriate supplemental materials. Ages 3+.

Natalia Huang Piano Studio (E40th)

One on one private piano lessons each week focusing on playing the piano, technique, ear-training, sight-reading, and music appreciation. Weekly lessons of 30, 45 or 60 minutes.  Two or three workshop performances each year and annual recital in June. Ages 5+.

New York Stage of Mind (LIC)

Trial class available. Piano Lessons are offered in a weekly one-on-one format on baby grand piano. Lessons are offered in 3 formats: 30 minutes, 45 or 60 minutes. Schedule is flexible. Ages 3+.

Willan Academy of Music (8th Ave or in-home in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens)

No obligation 30 minute trial piano lessons are available. Piano lessons provide students individual instruction in a comfortable setting. For children ages 4+ and adults. Choose from 30, 45 or 60 minutes.

92nd Street Y (UES)

Group Piano 5-7 Years (Beginner) introduces your children to the fundamentals of music in a fun group environment.  The class is for Ages 5-7 and runs 45 minutes.

Splish Splash Safety: Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe Around Water This Summer

swimWater activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the hot summer months. Whether it’s time spent at the pool, a lake, or a fun day at the beach, there are many opportunities for children of all ages to enjoy water activities. It is important, however, to remember that water can be dangerous, and drowning is preventable. Here are some important tips on how to keep children safe around water.

Supervision: Watch children when they are in or around water – even if there is a lifeguard around. If many adults are present, choose one designated person to supervise without distractions. This will assure that an adult is watching at all times without assuming that someone else is watching.

Pool Safety:
• Fence: Install a fence around home pools. The fence should be at least 4 feet high with gates that are self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be placed as high as possible so that young children cannot reach it, and the gate should completely surround the pool, separating it from the house.
• Access: Whether you have an inflatable or above ground pool, make sure to remove any access to the pool (such as a ladder) when not in use. Additionally, remove any furniture that can be used to climb into the pool.
• Toys: When toys are not in use, be sure to remove them from the pool, as they can attract small children.
• Cover: Keep the pool covered when not in use. Make sure the pool cover is on securely to avoid danger of a child falling into the pool and being trapped underneath the cover.

Swimming lessons: The American Academy of Pediatrics supports swimming lessons for most children age 4 years or older. In younger children (ages 1-4) swimming classes may reduce the risk of drowning, but as children develop at different rates, no age specific recommendations are made.

Swimming partner: For adolescents that know how to swim, make sure that they always have a swimming partner with them, whether at the pool, lake or the ocean. Never allow them to swim (even with a partner) without a lifeguard around.

Know what to do in the case of an Emergency. If a child is missing, check the water first and call 911 if needed. Parents, caregivers and pool owners would benefit from learning CPR, as it may help save a child’s life.

When it comes to water safety, prevention is key! Be safe, and have fun in the water!

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Doreen Benary, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and clinical instructor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Sports & Gym Birthday Parties for NYC Kids

Sports birthday party NYC

Sports and Gymnasium parties are the most popular parties for a lot of kids and parents with good reason. Our kids are kept active and engaged and hopefully worn out enough to fall asleep early that night.  Win-Win!

Upper West Side

FunFit Kids:  Ages 11 and under. 90 minutes of fun at their location on the UWS, or at a location of your choice.  Sports include soccer, basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, hockey, tennis, golf and lacrosse.  FunFit bag of goodies for the birthday star.

Upper East Side

 

92nd Street Y: Ages 2+. Party Types include Basketball, Gymnastics, Multi-Sports, Soccer, Swimming, Dance, and Open Playtime.  Parties include a designated party room, complimentary party favor for each child guest, and gifts for the birthday child and host parents.

Gymtime: Ages 1+.  90 minutes of gymnastics, sports, or tae kwon do. **Alcoholic Beverages permitted. Many available themes, including Favorite Superheroes,
Sports, Favorite cartoon characters, Disney movie characters, Sesame Street, etc.

Flatiron/Chelsea

Karma Kids Yoga All ages are covered across the multiple themed parties available.  Party Types include Downward Doll Yoga, Yoga Sleep Under, Yoga Sleep Over, Gloga Yoga, Butterfly Yoga, Yoga Mat Painting, Yoga Spa, Yoga Art, My First Birthday, Circus Yoga.

Multiple Locations

Bee In Motion Birthday Parties:  Ages 4+. Schedule at the UES, UWS or at a local park in your neighborhood.  Games include a variety of tag, capture the flag/football, dodgeball, kickball, gaga ball, running bases, ultimate goal ball, soccer and flag football for older kids. Versions of football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, baseball and swimming (if you have a pool).  **Alcoholic Beverages permitted.

New York Kids ClubAges 1-12. UWS, UES, Flatiron/Gramercy, Tribeca, FiDi, and Brooklyn and LIC.  90 minutes of jumping, laughing, and celebrating in the gym and refreshments/cake in party room. Specialty themes are available.  **Beer/wine permitted.

Karma Kids Yoga provides yoga mats, props, and music at a Yoga Party at Your Space.

FunFit Kids will travel to a location of your choice.

Sports birthday party nycBrooklyn

Aviator Sports and Events CenterAges 1+. Any amount of guests.  Sports parties are the specialty – Gymnastics, Ninja Warrior, Ice Skating, Ultimate Birthday Party Challenge, Bubble Soccer, Game Truck, Tiny Tykes, Rock Climbing, Pool Party.   **Alcoholic Beverages permitted.

New York Fencing Academy: Ages 5+.  60 minutes of group Fencing instruction and Fencing play in this state-of-the-art gym and 60 minutes for your party celebration in the lounge area.  **Alcoholic Beverages permitted.

Queens

OKABALOO FunArtFaktory – Arts & Fun CenterAll ages.  2.5 hours exclusive use of space. Sporty packages include Yoga, Fitness, Dance, Martial Arts, etc.  **Alcoholic Beverages permitted.

Indoor Extreme Sports – Choose from Paintball, Black Ops Lasertag, Arena Lasertag, Archery Tag, Virtual Reality, and more. This is one of the best extreme sports & experiences out there for ages 7+.

13 Unique Kids’ Birthday Party Venues in NYC

Unique birthday party venues in NYCParents in NYC are always looking for new and different birthday party venues where we have not already attended a kid’s party.  Kidz Central Station continues its Birthday Party Series with a look at unique and cool birthday party spaces in NYC that are not the usual gyms and athletic centers.  Also, consider hiring a musical performer to entertain the group.

Restaurants

Shake Shack UWS hosts your friends in the private Rec Room and treats them to all of the classics:  Shack burgers, flat-top dogs, crinkle fries, frozen custard shakes and concretes, Shack-made lemonade, fresh brewed iced tea, and fountain sodas.  Your friends will love it.

16 Handles has birthday party locations on UWS and UES. Rent out the entire store before it opens or choose a period during regular business hours. Recommended entertainment options include a gaming station with party host, face painting/tattoo artist, balloon artist, mad scientist, Rockin’ With Andy, magicians, and clowns.

Action Burger is a science fiction/comic book/video game themed restaurant in Williamsburg.  Entertainment includes classic arcade games (Street fighter anniversary & Mortal Kombat 2), as well as, modern games (Just Dance, Guitar Hero, Halo, Call of Duty, Halo, Mindcraft, Karaoke, and more).  Fun for kids and the parents!

The East Wing is the private party room at UES bar The Stumble Inn. It features a “kid friendly” menu with breaded chicken tenders, mini hamburgers, mac n’ cheese, tater tots and quesadillas. They offer a fully stocked bar for the adults and a soda and juice bar for the little ones.

Please read about our visit to one of our Kips Bay/Murray Hill favorites, The Shake and Burger Bar.

Museum

New York City Fire Museum.  Do your kids want to grow up to be firefighters?  This is their dream party.  The museum has collections of fire related art, artifacts, gear, and apparatus from the late 18th century to the present and showcases the evolution of firefighting.  The Junior Firefighter Birthday Party package lasts for two hours and is designed for children ages 3-6.

bdayparty

Arcades (VR, Pinball, Interactive)

Please read about our super-fun 4D immersive visit to NFL Experience Times Square.

YokeyPokey Virtual Reality Club – Brooklyn.  Race cars, shoot down space aliens, play minecraft, create and destroy cities, paint in an immersive painting and much more in a virtual reality gaming and 360 degree immersive experience.  Your kids and guests won’t stop talking about it.

Indoor Extreme Sports – LIC and Staten Island. Choose from Paintball, Black Ops Lasertag, Arena Lasertag, Archery Tag, Virtual Reality, and more. This is one of the best extreme sports & experiences out there for ages 7+.

Modern Pinball NYC Party Place & ArcadeYou and your guests will have a BLAST playing Unlimited Games with all arcade machines on FREE PLAY and enjoy the comfort and privacy of the separate Party Room.  Ranked #1 at Yelp! for ‘Best Birthday Party Venue’ in New York City!

Fashion & Tea Parties

The Fashion ClassThe birthday girl or boy can choose to sew real, wearable clothing, design a fashion project or even hold a professional runway show!  The party takes place in the bright and airy 2500 sq ft Midtown studio with separate food, activity and parent hang-out areas.

Tiarah Events – Queens.  Tiarah’s Royal Tea Parties are a fun way for little guests to get pampered and have fun! Our Royal Tea Party starts with mani/pedi, dress up, and then once we’re all glamoured up we’ll sit and have a cup of tea, sandwiches, and sweets and scones.

Hello Princess NYC – Morris Park. Two hours of Princess or pop star themed and tea parties for the birthday girl. Manicures, makeup and tiaras for all.  Ages 3-10.

5 Music Performers for Kids’ Birthday Parties

Musical Performers Birthday PartyWe know that the yearly birthday party search is not the most enjoyable task for our parents. Costs,  Themes, Venues, Locations, Alcohol allowed?  So many things to figure out,  So, we at Kidz Central Station are hoping to streamline this process by doing a lot of the heavy lifting for our parents.

This week, we’ve found the best music performers in NYC who can travel to your party to entertain the kiddos.

Andy and Suzanna Kids Music:  Andy and/or Suzanna provide 35-45 minutes of singing and dancing with bubbles, shakers, bells, movement activities, and hands-on guitar time! They mix original music with kids standards and family friendly pop singalongs and take any song requests.

Kids at Work Musicians: Musicians create authentic musical experiences for young children via storysongs, contrasting activities, instruments, and movement. They can play and sing almost anything!  Enjoy $10 off discount for Kidz Central Station parents.

Music with Breezy:  Breezy Sharp is a Music For Aardvarks teacher and professional touring musician/singer. She brings rhythm sticks and egg shakers for the kids, as well as her guitar for 30 minutes of sing along fun.  She sings both Aardvarks favorites, such as “Taxi,” as well as, popular songs “Wheels on the Bus” and a rock-n-roll version of “ABC”

Ms. Janis Music: Ms. Janis Music performers are professional singers and guitar players that  are hand picked and trained by Ms. Janis.  All packages (30, 45 or 60 minutes) include music, singing, dancing, parachute play, scarf play and use of other engaging props.

Sing & Celebrate:  Early childhood music teacher Laca Tines runs this program.   Each party program runs 45 minutes and specific activities are hand-picked to best suit your party. The program is packed with guitar sing-along, lap bounces, circle dances, and loads of instruments – shakers, bells/tambourines, rhythm sticks, and DRUMS!

Family Fun and Birthdays at NFL Experience Times Square

rogerKidz Central Station just had a ridiculous fun time at NFL Experience Times Square (NFLX) and we want to spread the word.  This is a live action experience that involves athletic skills games (e.g., vertical leap, quarterback challenge, blocking dummy, etc) and a wholly immersive 4D surround sound movie theater to bring us the feel of being “in the game.” This is awesome if you are a football fan, but  we learned that you do not need to be a fan or even know much about the game to enjoy the journey.NFL Experience Times Square

On a hot and muggy day, NFLX was the perfect place to get our kids out of the house and out of the sun to release their energy.  When we first arrived, we visited the second floor gift shop and cafe area where Good Morning Football is filmed.  The kids got to sit at the desk and pretend they were tv hosts.

Next, we entered the exhibit, which begins on the fourth floor with a walk down a hallway that introduces the 32 football teams and showcases jerseys and helmets and displays for each NFL conference.  Learn football history here, especially with  an interactive map where we could learn about any team we chose.  This is an example of when you do not need to be a fan.  Kids love pushing buttons and being the one in control of the adventure.NFL Experience Times Square

After taking some fun photographs in front of a green screen, we entered the theater, aka The Stadium, for a short 13 minutemovie.  This was the favorite attraction for both the kids and adults.  During this interactive film, the audience gets to feel like they’re in the game.  There are screens on both sides of you, on the ceiling, and in front of you with speaker systems all around.  The seats move with what’s happening in the film.  If there’s a tackle, you feel it.  When we were watching games take place in snow, it began “snowing” in the the theater and I swear, it felt like snow.NFL Experience Times Square

After exiting the movie onto the third floor, you and the kids can take part in all the skills games.  The kids rushed forward to the tackling dummies and tried with all their might to try to move them.  They tried their hands at the quarterback throwing contest and the vertical jump challenge.  These were the 2nd and 3rd favorites for the kids as their competitive sides were now in full force as they ran around to all the games.  NFL Experience Times SquareThey created or suited up their own football player on screen and then had that player mimic their movements.  They weighed themselves together to compare to offensive linemen.  They stood next to a height chart to see if they could reach Julian Edelman.  Note, short is still tall in sports.NFL Experience Times Square

A Jon Gruden video taught us one of his actual game plays, which he drew up on a visit here.  We walked through the victory tunnel and celebrated our Super Bowl win.  There was another photo op in front of a green screen in which a bucket of Gatorade is spilling you.  The kids loved it!  It was very cool was seeing all of the Super Bowl rings and the Lombardi Trophy in person.  Also, Good Morning Football ends filming at 10AM and players have been known to hang around.  We didn’t see any NFL players during our visit but Sterling Shepard stopped by the day after and posed with lucky fans.  Next time!

NFL Experience Times Square

And we will visit again because the cafe broadcasts games during the season, as well as, other sporting events such as March Madness during the rest of the year,  The location is fantastic on Times Square and the 2nd floor had a perfect view of all the action.  And they serve a full menu (and bar) along with lots of kid friendly options.  My son was also interested in the idea of a birthday party here.  See below for details.

NFL Experience Times Square

Kidz Tips:

*******************************************************************

Birthdays at NFL Experience Times Square

ALL PRO – $800

  • Admission for 21 (kids and adults)
  • Kids Lunch Package Options
  • A Birthday Cake! Choice of chocolate, vanilla or Fruity Pebble Marshmallow
  • Paper Goods (plates, cups, utensils)
  • Commemorative photo for all children
  • Dedicated Tour Guide
  • Bounceback return visit admission to NFLX for all children!

Birthday MVP Child will also receive:

  • One NFL Team Mini Helmet (Team of Choice)
  • One NFLX Credential & Lanyard

MVP – $1100

  • Full ALL PRO Package benefits PLUS:
  • Birthday Child’s Name Listed on Select Screens
  • NFLX Goody Bags

HALL OF FAME – $1400

  • Full MVP Package benefits PLUS:
  • Birthday Child’s Name Listed on Select Screens
  • Upgrade to Premium NFLX Goody Bags (includes Junior Leather NFL Team Logo Football
  • One Adult Menu Food Platter (feeds five)
  • Open Bar for One Hour

NFL Experience Times SquareTo reserve your party, please request info here.

Beat the Heat: Tips to Keep Your Child Safe from Heat Related Illness This Summer

heatAs temperatures rise and we find ourselves spending more time outdoors with children this summer, it’s important to remember that high temperatures and too much time in the heat can have negative effects on your child’s body. Here are some tips on preventing heat related illness in children.

HYDRATION:  Staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do to prevent heat related illness. It is essential to give your child water frequently while they are outside on a hot day. Many children may not ask for water while they are playing outdoors, but it’s important to provide children with water even if they don’t ask for it. Additional and frequent hydration with water or sports beverages is especially crucial while children are playing sports or exercising. Infants less than 6 months of age should not be given water, but they can be given extra breastmilk or formula to keep them hydrated.

SUN PROTECTION: Protecting your children from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays is also important. Dress your child in lightweight and light-colored clothing. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can offer additional protection. Keep children in the shade as much as possible and try to avoid exposure to direct sunlight on very hot days, especially during the sun’s most intense hours (between 10 AM and 4 PM).

Apply sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 to any areas of your child’s skin that are not protected by clothing. Using sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” or UVA/UVB protection is ideal. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.  Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on cloudy days as well, as the sun’s rays are still present.

Infants less than 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible. If you do take young infants outdoors, be sure to keep their skin protected with lightweight clothing and a hat and to keep them in the shade. You can apply a small amount of sunscreen to your infant’s exposed skin if needed.

STAY COOL: Staying indoors in a location with air conditioning is a great way to beat the heat on days when temperatures are extremely high. If you do not have air conditioning available in your home, think about going to a public location such as a library, museum, or mall. This is a great way to engage in a fun activity for the day while still staying cool. Additionally, a cool bath or shower may help cool your child down on a hot day.

MONITOR: While prevention is the key, it is also important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If your child exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, speak to your child’s pediatrician or take them to be evaluated by a physician immediately.

•Dizziness
•Nausea
•Vomiting
•Headache
•Weakness
•Fatigue
•Confusion
•High body temperature
•Muscle Cramps

Following these tips will ensure a fun and healthy summer and will help you beat the heat!

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Kavita Patel, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Kips Bay/Murray Hill Kids’ Birthday Party Venue

Shake and Burger Bar Birthday Party

The Shake and Burger Bar is a newly opened family fun restaurant and unique kids birthday party venue right here in Kips Bay/Murray Hill.  Located on 3rd avenue between 25th and 26th streets, this is a great place for a family meal in a comfy setting with goodies for both kids (milkshakes) and parents (alcohol infused milkshakes!).

Our Visit

Shake and Burger Bar Birthday PartyKidz Central Station recently visited with our kids to check out the masssive over 3000 sq ft space and  try out the giant artistic masterpiece milkshakes.  When we arrived at 6:30PM on a Thursday, the restaurant was packed with both an after-work crowd and parents with young kids. We had a short wait for a table and the servers could not have been nicer or more accomodating.  Everyone here is extremely friendly and service was fast once we were seated. With music blasting and energetic chatter, it is a festive experience.

The Shake and Burger Bar is a great addition to this area of 3rd Avenue, which is becoming more and more family friendly with a NY Kids Club opening across the street, Modern Pinball, a 16 Handles location, and NYPL Kips Bay.  If you’re looking for a unique birthday party, you can’t go wrong with milkshakes, chicken tenders and Disney movies for the kids and happy hour sangrias and Stellas for the parents. With numerous big screen TVs scattered throughout playing sports or kid-centric movies, there is something for all ages.  We sat towards the back of the restaurant in a slightly elevated separated area that could easily host 15-20 kids while the parents could sit off in their own space with their nachos and drinks.  And our three kids really tested the limits of running around and playing tag in a crowded restaurant. And l should add that they also spilled a milkshake all over our table and the floor.  The super nice staff cleaned it up quickly and without complaint or shaming looks. Thank you!

Shake and Burger Bar Birthday Party

Happy Hour and Menu

Important into for our parents:  Happy Hour is Every Day 4pm-8pm.  This includes $4 Pint & $14 Pitchers of Stella, $4 Mixed Drinks, 1/2 Price Wings (one per customer), and all day $4 shots of Absolute Lime.  The menu is standard fare of wings, sliders, nachos, several types of burgers, and sandwiches. Everything we ate was delicious! The adults tried the veggie and salmon burgers and the kids ordered from the $7.50 Kids Menu (either 2 chicken tenders w fries or 2 cheeseburger sliders w fries).  

Shake and Burger Bar Birthday Party

And, of course, the standouts are the magnificent milkshakes.  We’ll let the photos do the talking. 

Shake and Burger Bar Birthday Party

Shake and Burger Bar Birthday Party

Shake and Burger Bar Birthday Party

Kid friendly, awesome service, delicious food, and insane milkshakes! We’ll be back for Trivia Night on Tuesdays at 7:30PM.

A Parent’s Review of Eye Level Learning Center

School is out and it is time for kids to have fun!  And Kidz Central Station recommends summer classes and camps to keep our kids engaged and recharged.   On many parents’ minds is how to keep “summer slide” at bay.  With our parents’ concerns in mind, we visited Eye Level Learning Center’s location in the East Village.

Eye Level review at Kidz Central Station

What is Eye Level?

Eye Level Learning Centers offer after-school and summer tutoring.  Eye Level follows state standards and provides Math and English instruction to supplement and enhance what our kids learn at school.  Specifically, Basic math covers Numbers, Arithmetic, Measurement, and Equations. Critical math includes Patterns and Relationships, Geometry, Measurement, Problem Solving, and Reasoning.  English focus areas include phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. Learn more at their national website.

One Parent’s Review

Both of my sons attend the Eye Level Learning Center in the East Village. They started in April/May 2018 and have continued this summer after taking June off.  My older son (3rd grader) is competitive and excels at academics and is a bit lazy.  My younger son (1st grader) has a learning delay and ADHD and is an extremely hard worker.  Both enjoy completing tasks and being rewarded for their accomplishments.  Eye Level has been wonderful for both of them!

Assessment

In our first appointment, the kids were given an assessment of both subject areas by the director of this center, Ryan Drucker.  This is a free assessment whether you continue with their services or not. Since I don’t always know what’s happening during the school day, I was happy to gain an understanding of where each one stood in comparison to their grade level and their overall strengths and weaknesses.  

Weekly Classes

We signed on for 6 months (4 tutor hours/month and ~$56/hour).  We attend weekly on Saturday morning so the boys can go together, which is a motivating factor for both of them.  My older son has an hour of English because he placed over a grade level ahead in Math.  The younger one has ½ hour of English and ½ hour of math. The older one sits with an instructor and 1 or 2 other students as the instructor rotates working individually with each student.  Due to his attention difficulty, the younger one has one-on-one instruction throughout the hour.  I has raised my concerns with Ryan and was very happy about the specialized attention.

What I really like is that each lesson is contained in a short booklet that is easily completed during the hour.  Then, homework is a booklet that follows this week’s lessons and is easily completed during the week. The younger son goes through a booklet per subject and then completes two booklets for homework.  The kids feel a real sense of accomplishment from finishing entire booklets.  You see the progress being made.

The space is small but packed with education materials and books and games.  The tutor hours are booked appropriately and we haven’t seen more than 5 kids including my two during our lessons.  Our teachers are very gentle and nice but do expect the kids to listen and work hard. The boys have worked well with them.  They give instructive feedback  at the end of every lesson.  

Most important for the kids, they are rewarded with star cards after each lesson that they can save to earn prizes or cash out immediately for small prizes.  It is amazing how cheap candies and toys can be such a motivation for kids. My boys love their star cards and “shopping” for prizes.

Results

Both of my sons have greatly benefited from Eye Level.  The older one needed the structure and feedback to stay focused.  He has worked on Reading Comprehension, Verbs (action, helping, linking, future tense, irregular) and compound sentences.  He is digging deeper into topics that are glanced over and in some cases not even broached in school. The younger one has developed his reading comprehension skills and grammar, as well as, learning to sit still for an hour. Examples of his lessons include repeating patterns and subtraction drills for Math.  Short vowels, sight words, and story elements for English. We are absolutely pleased with Eye Level!

How to Prepare Your Child for Sleepaway Camp

campfireFor some children, heading off to an overnight summer camp is natural and easy, and their parents aren’t too concerned. For others, especially those who are younger, more prone to anxiety, or who have special needs, the approaching first day of camp can be daunting.

Whether your child is spending a week or the whole summer away from home, here are a few tips to help you prepare your child (and yourself!) for a smooth transition to camp.

Manage your own anxiety.
Maybe you’re questioning your decision to send your daughter away to camp at her young age. Maybe you’re nervous that both you and your son will spend the first few nights of camp crying. Fears are natural, but don’t let your kids know how worried you are!

Take care of yourself and your needs first. Speak to friends and family about your anxiety, but make sure that you convey an excited, optimistic attitude when talking to your child. Remind yourself why you wanted to send her to camp in the first place. Making new friends, learning new skills, playing in the fresh air, and gaining a sense of independence are all wonderful experiences that will benefit her. You can also look forward to getting a brief respite from parenting duties while she’s away!

Whatever you do, never tell your tell child that you will miss him too much or that you wish he could stay home. If he asks if you’ll miss him, let him know that you love him, but that you want him to be at camp and that you can’t wait to read his letters and hear all about camp when he gets home.

Preview the camp schedule.
For anxious children or those who have difficulty adjusting to new routines, checking out the camp’s daily schedule together can be beneficial. These are often available on the camp’s website. If you can’t locate it, email the camp and ask for the schedule for your child’s age group.

With your child, review when wake up, bedtime, mealtimes, and activity periods will be. If he has been waking up and going to sleep on a drastically different schedule, slowly adjusting to the camp’s schedule can help make it more likely that he’ll fall asleep easily when he arrives. Taking a look at photos on the camp website to preview the new surroundings can also be useful.

Make sure to read the list of activities that are offered at camp. Generate excitement for both of you by talking about which new things your child wants to try at camp!

Let the camp know about your child’s special needs.
If your child has special needs, chances are that you have already discussed them with the camp director. If not, make a phone call or send an email to the camp administration to let them know. They will be glad that you shared information that will make the start of camp easier for both your child and for her counselors.

Full-time camp staff are childcare professionals who have seen and heard it all, so don’t worry about upsetting them with this information. Many children who require unique diets, have psychiatric diagnoses such as ADHD, or who have behavior problems in school have wildly successful summer camp experiences.

Although you might feel anxious and want to call multiple times, restrict yourself to one or two communications with the camp before the first day, unless the camp indicates that more are necessary, as camp directors are extremely busy just before and during the summer season.

Practice spending nights away from home.
If your child has rarely spent the night outside the comfort of her own bedroom, practice for the camp experience by having her sleep at friend’s and family member’s houses a few times before camp begins. Don’t call her to say goodnight; allow her to become accustomed to doing her bedtime routine under the watchful eye of another adult. When she returns home, praise her for her success at staying by herself.

Your child might ask if he can come home if he changes his mind about a sleepover or about camp. Reiterate that you’re confident that he will have a great time without you. Prepare him for the experience by saying, “A lot of kids feel homesick on their first few nights away. It’s okay if you feel that way or if you don’t feel that way. If it happens to you, don’t worry that it means you won’t have a good summer anyway.” Never promise your child that you will pick him up if he feels homesick.

Let go.
Once your child arrives at camp, the staff will take care of her needs. If there’s a problem that you need to know about, they’ll call you. Enjoy your freedom and give yourself time to relax while the children are away. Remember, whatever happens, your child will be home in a few weeks!

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Arielle Walzer, MA, PsyM, is a psychology extern at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, and a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University.