Smart Shopping Tips for Your Spring Planting

Smart Shopping Tips for Your Spring Planting

 

 

Ready to start planting?  Here are some tips for shopping smart!

 

It’s finally time to start planting – but before you plant, you shop.  With garden retailers preparing for the predictable spring surge in business, shoppers need to prepare themselves for the best shopping experience ever.

 

Before You Head Out Plant Shopping

 

Here are a couple of things you should know/do before you begin your spring plant shopping:

 

Know how sunny your garden is.

Watch your garden and figure out whether the area you want to plant in is in full sun (i.e. it gets 6 or more hours of direct sun a day) or not. This is key information to have—some plants won’t thrive in less than full sun and some plants will wither with that much sun. This rule applies to all plants, whether you’re looking to buy perennials, pretty annuals to fill a pot, trees, vegetables, or herbs.

 

Snap some photos of your garden with your phone before you go shopping.

Once you get into the garden center, there is so much selection it can be overwhelming. Having a photo with you will help you remember what planting hole or pot you came to fill and how big it is. And, if you need to ask a staff member for help it will make it a lot easier for them to give you good  advice if they can see your space instead of hearing “well, I need something to plant in the backyard, in front of the rosebush, beside the Hostas, well, I think they’re Hostas—is that what you call those things with green leaves that grow low to the ground?”

Bring close-up, in focus shots of the leaves of any plant you’re looking for help with identifying, as well as a picture of the whole plant, and, if it flowers, a picture of the flowers with you.

Once you’re in the garden center, read the tags on the plants — they’ll tell you whether the plant needs full sun or tolerates shade, and tell you how big it will get (height and width). Between the information on the tag and the homework you did before you left the house, you’ll be well on your way to buying the right plants for your garden!

 

Here are some tips for getting the very best plant value while shopping this spring.

 

Perfect is Imperfect

All of us do it:  we automatically reach for the perfect flowering plant, like a hydrangea in full bloom, a pot of pansies brimming with color.  The fact is, though, a plant brimming with color is soon in decline.  This is true of plants that bloom at their very best once a year, like a hydrangea, but not so much a season-long performer like a geranium.  Choose plants that are in flower bud, not in flower, and enjoy a longer bloom cycle.

 

Avoid Root-Bound Plants

Often, plants have been grown past their peak.  The easiest way to determine the quality of the plant you are buying is to pull it gently from the pot. Retailers won’t mind that you do this, as long as you’re careful not to spill soil everywhere.  The pot should be 50 to 70% roots, with the balance, a quality potting mix. 

If the roots twirl around the inside of the pot, they are likely to sit in your garden in shock.  pull tightly woulnd roots apart before you plant (or avoid root-bound plants in the first place).

 

Autumn Stock is a Good Bet

Some retailers store their leftover stock from last fall and bring it out for sale carly in the spring.  This stock may perform very well in your garden, as the plants are generally more established and “hardened off,” therefore more tolerant of frost than new stock fresh from the greenhouse.

 

Imperfect May Be Temporary

Experienced gardeners know that some of the best plant deals are at the back of the store, where less than perfect specimens are often offered at discount prices. 

Something like a broken branch or a scar in the bark that can be overcome with time or pruning.  In a few years, a tree or shrub that is imperfect at the time of purchase can look great; patience and pruning can really pay off!

 

Seeds Save Money

Many plant shoppers forget to go inside the store to peruse the seed racks.  The truth is, many herbs, annuals, vegetables and perennials grow easily from seed and they always cost much less than plants.

 

Divide and Save

Some of the best plant deals at this time of year are not at retailers, but at local horticultural society or master gardener meetings, and even sometimes at garage sales.  The divisions from someone else’s Hosta or Daylily can take root and perform very well in our garden this season, and save you a lot of money.

 

 

For that matter, if you have perennials of your own in your garden that are several years old, chances are that many of them can be dug up, divided with a sharp spade or knife, and planted around your garden.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful information on spring plant shopping. 

You may find some terrific planting ideas and inspiration at the new Amazon Plants Store!

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Get Gardening to Lose Weight and Gain Health

Important Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

 

How to Help a Senior With a Hoarding Problem

How to Help a Senior With a Hoarding Problem

 

 

 

Senior Hoarding :

Causes, Risks, and What to Do About It

 

Senior hoarding issues are tough for caregivers to manage, both physically and emotionally. It’s well known that hoarding causes safety hazards like fall risk, blocked emergency access, and unsanitary living conditions. What’s not as well understood is the emotional side.

To help you care for a hoarder and the messy consequences, this post explains the difference between a pack rat and a hoarder and which emotions are behind the behavior, as well as how to provide emotional support, arrange help, and restore their home back to a livable condition.

 

 

Is It Hoarding?  The Difference Between a Pack Rat and a Hoarder

 

Many people like to hang onto mementos and multiples of useful items for both nostalgic and practical reasons. But there are key differences between someone who collects and someone who hoards.

A hoarder suffers from an inability to discard items and often acquires useless items. They keep stacks of unnecessary items, like junk mail and old newspapers. They might move things from pile to pile, but will never throw anything away.

Many people have a few items they feel emotionally attached to, but a hoarder has an excessive attachment to many possessions and will be uncomfortable if somebody touches them or asks to borrow their items.

They’ll also feel unable to get rid of any possessions and will end up living in cluttered spaces that are often unsafe, unsanitary, and/or hazardous.

The difference between a collector and a hoarder is that when someone is hoarding, their daily life is negatively impacted.

If you are reading this article, you likely already know you’re dealing with a hoarder, and not just a pack rat or collector, and have noticed the following:

 

Signs of Hoarding:

  • Avoids throwing away possessions that have no value to them or anyone else.
  • Experiences mild to severe anxiety about getting rid of anything.
  • Repeatedly adding to the hoard without recognition that there is a problem.
  • Rooms in their home can no longer be used for their intended purpose.
  • Possessions are negatively impacting their safety, health or hygiene.

 

 

Hoarding is Especially Dangerous for Seniors

 

Hoarding is dangerous for almost everyone, but it’s especially harmful for seniors. They’re more likely to fall in a crowded home and their health will be harmed by unsanitary or hazardous living conditions.

 

Hoarding results in serious side effects for older adults, including:

 

  • Preventing emergency care – firefighters or emergency medical technicians (EMTs) may not be able to get through the house to reach them
  • Causing physical danger – increased risk of falls or not being able to move around due to the extreme clutter
  • Refusing home help – won’t allow anyone into their home (usually due to embarrassment or fear of their stuff being disturbed), this negatively affects their nutrition, hygiene, and medication
  • Producing unsanitary conditions – spoiled food leads to pests and food borne illness
  • Creating fire hazards – piles of old papers, newspapers, or magazines can easily go up in flames

 

Recommended: DIY Easy Mold Test

 

Mental Issues and Hoarding

 

Senior hoarding issues could also indicate the presence of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or mental illness. In other cases, it could also be caused by Diogenes Syndrome, a condition that affects some seniors near the end of life. Diogenes Syndrome is characterized by hoarding, self-neglect, social withdrawal, and a refusal to accept help.

Hoarding is often accompanied by some degree of anxiety, which makes it difficult to treat – and tough for families to watch. And because hoarders tend to self-isolate, it makes their emotional well-being even more fragile.

When you’re caring for someone who hoards, it’s helpful to learn more about senior hoarding issues (see my book recommendation below). Understanding the emotional side of this behavior helps you work toward effective solutions in a kind and gentle way.

 

 

Hoarding Can Be Triggered By Trauma

 

Recently, it has been found that people who have hoarding symptoms are also more likely to have experienced a traumatic event in life. It could be that hoarding is a coping mechanism to deal with grief or loss.

This is important to consider if your older adult has only recently started the hoarding behavior. They could be trying to fill an emotional hole left by the trauma of losing a spouse or another major life change.

 

 

The Emotional Effect of Senior Hoarding Issues

 

Even though hoarding can be a coping mechanism for dealing with anxiety, trauma, or other mental struggles, it doesn’t provide real relief.

In addition, hoarding behavior often comes with poor decision making, procrastination, and a lack of organization. These impact all aspects of life and make it more difficult to have good quality of life.

And because hoarding is isolating, seniors who hoard typically have limited social interactions. They may even push you away or avoid you, damaging your relationship.

People’s perceptions of hoarders can negatively impact a hoarder as well. It’s easy for others to see hoarders as dirty or lazy, and those judgments can be difficult for them to hear and handle.

 

 

Struggling To Let Go Of Possessions

 

Hoarding is a complex and layered behavior. A hoarder could be dealing with any number of symptoms and conditions, from indecisiveness to anxiety and from trauma to social isolation.

Using hoarding as a coping mechanism could mean that there‘s something in the person’s life that is just too painful to face. Clutter builds up and provides comfort to the hoarder. Letting go of that comfort can feel excruciating.

In fact, hoarders can develop such strong attachments to their possessions that these items become more valuable to them than the people in their lives. Getting rid of something so valuable would feel similar to the extreme grief of losing a loved one.

That’s why if someone forces a hoarder to get rid of these items, their anxiety can intensify to unimaginable levels.

So even though it may seem like the most straightforward solution, do your best to not throw items away without permission or jump into a big cleanup without help from mental health professionals – it would be too emotionally distressing.

And if you do get rid of things without their approval, it will likely make them see you as an untrustworthy person. That makes it harder for you to continue helping them.

Do your best not to judge and remember that they greatly value the items you see as junk. A hoarder likely needs professional help to deal with their serious emotional issues before they can cope with cleaning up.

 

 

Emotional Help for Senior Hoarding – Avoid a Forced Cleanup

 

Not only would a forced cleanup cause extreme emotional distress, the person you care for will immediately return to their hoarding ways and fill up the space again.

What works better is to help your older adult see that hoarding is a problem. That doesn’t mean shaming the person. Instead, an empathetic and rational discussion (or several discussions) will help them gain the courage to do what’s best for themselves. Start by helping them see that a change needs to be made for their own safety.

If the hoarding is linked to a traumatic event, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is often an effective treatment. CBT helps the person cope with the emotions from the trauma and learn to manage their grief in a healthier way.

And even if the hoarding isn’t linked to a traumatic event, therapy is still helpful. Hoarding can’t truly be fixed until the root of the problem is found and addressed. For some people, medications that treat anxiety and depression may also be able to help with hoarding disorder.

Above all, be empathetic. Try to understand where your older adult is coming from and listen to what they have to say as you gently guide them towards recovery.

 

Visit the Doctor

Because hoarding is connected to health conditions or mental health issues, it’s likely that your older adult will need professional help. Having their doctor do a full evaluation will help figure out if the behavior is caused by dementia or other medical conditions.

 

Consider Therapy

If the issue isn’t related to a medical condition, therapy (sometimes in combination with medication) is a way to help seniors manage their hoarding behavior.

 

Practical Ways to Start Organizing With a Senior Hoarder

 

Start By Simply Talking About Decluttering

The first step to cleaning a hoarder’s home is starting a conversation with your loved one who is challenged with a hoarding disorder. Talk about your plans and emphasize the ideas of safety and confidentiality. Discuss how organizing their home will make it safer to live in and communicate that you’re only there for support, not to judge.  It’s important to involve your mental health professional in these conversations as well, if applicable.

One of the most important tips for working with someone who is challenged with hoarding is to meet them where they are at. They are the owners of their stuff; they are the ones in charge of the process. Talk with the person to understand how the items they are keeping meet their end goal, whatever their end goal may be.

Use neutral language when talking with a hoarder about decluttering plans. Words like ‘clutter’ or ‘unsanitary’ can trigger [someone], and cause them to become defensive; using neutral, non-threatening language allows you and your loved one to communicate freely without pointing fingers.

 

Recommended Reading:  Digging Out – Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding & Compulsive Acquiring

 

 

How to Create an Action Plan

 

Once all parties involved have agreed it is time to start cleaning the hoarder’s home, you will need to create an action plan to complete the project. Work with your loved one to create a plan they approve of and are ready to attempt.

 

Determine criteria for Getting Rid of Items

Sit down with your loved one and help them create a list of criteria to determine if something can be thrown away. Remember that these are their belongings and they are in charge of this process. Write down the criteria so everyone assisting can refer to them as needed. An example could be: All mail older than six months can be thrown away.

 

Visit Amazon to view

 

Important Recommendation: This 3M Particulate Respirator Face Mask protects against dust, mold and paint

 

 

Make a Schedule

Decide the order you will tackle the rooms and how much time you’ll plan to spend in each room. Remember, tackling rooms individually is much more manageable than tackling the whole house.

 

Set Goals

Setting goals is an important step in helping someone with hoarding tendencies. Set concrete and attainable goals to keep everyone motivated. A goal could be organizing their items and moving them to an area of the house that can be used for storage; clearing enough space in entrances and hallways to improve accessibility and safety; or clearing a space where they will feel comfortable hosting company.

 

 

Plan For Waste Removal

 

When working with someone who has a hoarding disorder to clean their home, you will most likely be throwing away a lot of waste. As you declutter the home, you will need to have a fast and simple solution for moving the debris out of the home. Renting a dumpster is a good option if the project is a large one. You can take your time filling the dumpster and have it removed as soon as your clean-out is complete. Other options for waste removal include curbside pickup and junk removal services.

Keep in mind that someone with a hoarding disorder may be tempted to remove items from the debris pile if left alone.

 

 

Begin Organizing the Home

 

With your plan and waste removal strategy in place, you are ready to being cleaning and organizing the home. Cleaning and organizing are two different things. First declutter the home, then organize and finally, begin cleaning.

Follow your plan and go room by room. Using your predetermined list of criteria, identify and throw away worthless clutter and create piles for items to be kept and items to be donated.  Remember to discuss how each item being saved helps them meet their end goal.

 

For a practical detailed guide, read my blog post:

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Helping someone with a hoarding disorder is incredibly challenging. It will be an emotionally exhausting process, especially when you are working with someone you love. Remember to stay positive and be patient. Take frequent breaks and continue to have positive and encouraging conversations with your loved one.

The best goal for anyone is just to manage expectations, and ultimately to proceed with no expectations.

Working with a hoarder and helping them to live better in their space is really not about fixing the problem, but finding some kind of happy medium where you can make yourself feel better and alleviate a dangerous and/or unsanitary situation.

Hoarding is never really cured, just managed. Understand that the room you cleared out might not last for very long, and the solutions you created may not be long term.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information on helping a senior with a hoarding issue.

I welcome your comments below.

 

-Laurie

 

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Clean Up and Organize a Hoarder’s Home

Signs That You Need to Check Your Indoor Air Quality

Simple Steps to Ease Your Allergies at Home

How to Safely Clean Away Mold in Your Home

Is Your Indoor Air Making Your Allergies Worse?

Natural Options For Managing Asthma

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Tips For Easier Senior Car Travel

Best Air Purifiers for COPD – Full Reviews

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!  Here’s How …

The Right Lighting Prevents Dangerous Senior Falls

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

Help for Low Vision

 

 

How To Clean a Hoarder’s Home

How To Clean a Hoarder’s Home

 

 

 

Crucial Steps to Hoarding Cleanup

 

Going through a hoarder’s stuff is somewhat similar to a scavenger hunt, only without the fun usually involved in the game. You may find some valuable items in the hoard but instead of being thrilled you will be sad and sorry for the person suffering from a severe anxiety disorder that prevents him/her from assessing the true value of his/her possessions, making informed decisions, and having a normal lifestyle.

The affected individual will be most probably a friend or relative of yours, so the cleaning process will not only be very time-consuming and exhausting, but also rather emotional and difficult for you to deal with.

There are several crucial steps to take when cleaning a hoarder’s home in order to achieve a favorable outcome of such an overwhelming endeavor.

 

To clean a hoarder’s home, make sure you:

  1. Assess the situation
  2. Form a cleaning strategy
  3. Gather needed supplies
  4. Sort hoarded items
  5. Clean and restore the home

 

 

Assess the Situation and Create a Strategy

Hoarders lack the ability to classify items according to their actual value, so they tend to accumulate large numbers of useless things and never throw any of them away out of fear of losing something important.

The resulting piles of junk quickly build up to monstrous proportions, blocking most of the living space in the hoarder’s home and rendering normal everyday activities, such as cleaning, cooking, etc. impossible. Besides, the accumulated stuff harbors mold and bacteria growth, provides shelter to various kinds of pests, and poses fire hazards.

Quick and efficient measures are required to restore the hoarder’s home to safe living conditions but you need to approach the delicate situation with great patience and compassion in order to achieve satisfactory and sustainable results.

 

Address the Hoarder

Without a doubt, your greatest concern when faced with the difficult task of cleaning up a hoarder’s house will be how to help the affected person overcome his/her anxieties and resume a normal daily routine.

Decluttering and sanitizing the premises will restore the healthy living conditions in the hoarder’s home but will not restore his/her life. You need to earn the trust and respect of the affected individual first and convince him/her to actively participate in the cleaning process and keep his/her home neat and tidy in the future.

Special therapy treatment programs have been recently developed to help people with hoarding symptoms but your considerate and solicitous care is of paramount importance for improving the condition of a close friend or relative suffering from a hoarding disorder.

Of course, if you are about to clear a hoarder’s home after the affected person has already passed away, this aspect of the hoarding cleanup will no longer be relevant.

 

Secure Help

The laborious process of cleaning a hoarder’s home is too difficult to perform on your own. Not only are there many strenuous tasks to complete (removing large piles of garbage, repairing property damage, cleaning intensively, organizing the hoarder’s items, etc.), but you will also have to make a number of difficult decisions concerning the fate of specific items of sentimental value, documents, etc.

Enlist the help of close friends or family members to help you deal with all the aspects of hoarding cleanup in a quick and efficient manner.

 

Consider Your Own Safety First

Keep in mind that many threats may lurk in the home of a hoarder (biological contaminants, fire hazards, structural collapse, etc.) and consider your own safety first.

In case of excessive mold, animal waste, pest infestations, and other risky circumstances present in the hoarder’s home, call professional hoarding cleaning services to take care of the dangerous situation and complete the job quickly and safely.

Hiring experienced cleaning services for hoarders will ensure your peace of mind and will save you much time and nerves. You can receive more detailed information and learn the cost of cleaning a hoarder’s home by contacting hoarding cleanup specialists in your area.

 

Create a Plan

Assess the situation carefully, prioritize the work that needs to be done, figure out what you are going to need and how much time each specific task will take, and decide if you will take advantage of hoarding cleanup services or will try to manage on your own.

 

 

Protecting Yourself

 

As already mentioned, you need to ensure your own safety first. Get hold of disposable gloves, dust masks, and goggles to avoid exposure to mold, parasites, and other health concerns that may be present in a hoarder’s home.

Wear sturdy shoes and a hard hat when you enter the house and make sure you have:

  • a fire-extinguisher – the hoarder’s stuff may contain flammable materials and they can easily catch fire while you are inside;
  • a repellent spray – when you disturb the hoard, you may find out that it has given shelter to a number of pests;
  • a flashlight – you need to be able to see clearly in every nook and cranny of the hoarder’s home;
  • a first-aid kit – to disinfect and dress accidental wounds. Don’t forget your allergy meds and some pain relievers as well.

 

Be careful for sharp objects (knives, broken glass, etc.) that may hurt you and immediately call the professionals if you find evidence of bio-hazardous materials.

 

 

Gather Supplies

 

You will need appropriate cleaning equipment in order to remove the trash and disinfect the premises, as well as some tools for disassembling or repairing certain items.

Take lots of heavy-duty trash bags with you, as well as some empty boxes, plastic bins, buckets, universal cleaning agents and disinfectants, mops, sponges, wet wipes for cleaning, brooms, a dust pan, a step ladder, a heavy duty vacuum cleaner, a shovel, paint and a disinfecting spray, a set of hand tools and anything else you find useful under the circumstances.

Don’t forget to get a dumpster as you will need a place to put all the garbage and damaged items you need to get rid of.  You can rent a large dumpster from the city sanitation services and have it hauled off and disposed of for a small extra fee.

 

 

Prepare a Staging Area and Secure the Exits

 

You will need some free open space (a staging area) to temporarily put the contents of the hoarder’s home but most probably the rooms, porches, attics, and basements will be so cluttered that working there will be impossible. So, make sure you have cleared the outside area first to provide room for sorting out and organizing the hoarder’s items (if the weather is fine, of course – otherwise, you will have to find an appropriate covered area).

Keep in mind that the doors may be partially (or fully) blocked and venturing inside without having secured a safe escape route out is very risky. If a fire breaks out, for example, you may be trapped and unable to leave the property in time.  So, secure an exit and start removing the trash and debris from the nearest room first. Pile all the salvageable items in your staging area to deal with them later.

 

 

Starting the Hoarding Cleanup

 

Once you have secured your safety and prepared everything necessary, it’s time to begin cleaning the hoarder’s home:

 

Choose a Small Room to Begin With

Be warned that many hoarders seriously neglect sanitation, which can lead to health hazards, especially in the bathroom and the kitchen. So, these areas should be thoroughly cleaned out and sanitized at the earliest opportunity.

It’s a good idea to start with the bathroom, as you will need free access to clean running water and soap. Besides, you can finish the task really quickly. There is no chance of finding a valuable item in the bathroom, so just get rid of all the expired toiletries and half-used personal care items, old towels and filthy bathroom fixtures.

Give the bathroom surfaces an overall sanitization (you’ll clean better later on) and move on to the kitchen. Immediately remove any food, food remains and food containers, as well as obvious trash, to avoid the risk of infections and take all the kitchen items to your staging area where they can be categorized and cleaned later on. Clean a place where you can sit and rest or have a snack.

Move on to another room but leave closets and other storage areas for last as they will be particularly challenging – extremely disorganized and overflowing with stuff.

 

Empty Out the Rooms

Get rid of all the trash in a room first (not only obvious garbage but also items that are too damaged or too filthy to be used again). Be sure to check on local ordinances for handling stuff that can’t go directly in the trash, such as medicines, fuels, explosive substances, oil-based paint, etc. Put aside materials that can be recycled and safely dispose of the others.

Work from the top to the bottom – take out the items stacked up on tables, beds, chairs, etc. first and work down to the floor. Look through pockets and purses to check for cash or jewelry. Remove all the clutter from the room and even consider temporarily moving large furniture and appliances, so that you can thoroughly clean the premises.

 

Sort Out Salvageable Items

Sort out and classify the hoarder’s stuff into three groups:

  • useful items you are going to keep
  • usable items you are going to donate
  • useless items you are going to throw away

Most charities will come to get your donations, but don’t forget to contact them beforehand and gather relevant information – what kind of items they need and what they cannot accept, how to arrange free pick-up, etc. Keep any papers you receive from charity organizations, as you may be eligible for tax deduction when you donate to charity.

 

 Repair and Deep Clean the Property

When the house is free of trash and clutter, you can finally begin the intensive cleaning. This will be a very time-consuming and laborious process.

If any repair works need to be done, have them completed first. Any major restoration or renovation projects should be performed by certified and experienced specialists, of course. Contact professional cleaning and restoration services in your area to ensure efficient mold remediation (if necessary) and to have the premises properly dehumidified, deodorized, and restored to an excellent condition.

If there is no structural damage, at least consider repainting the walls and the ceiling and re-polishing or re-carpeting the floors before the home is ready to be moved back into.

If you will be cleaning the hoarder’s home without professional assistance, start with the ceilings and ceiling fans and move on to walls, windows, and any furniture left in the room. Make sure the entire place is properly disinfected, including fan blades, cabinets, closets, window sills, baseboards, toilets, bathtubs, showers, etc. Scrub the floors and wash or replace the curtains and the area rugs.

Thoroughly clean and disinfect any furniture pieces and appliances before moving them back to their rightful places and organize all the useful household items you have preserved in a neat and tidy manner.

If the hoarder will be moving back to his/her home after the cleanup help the affected person maintain a clean and clutter-free living space – create an easy-to follow maintenance plan, visit often, and provide further assistance if necessary.

If the property is going to be sold or leased out to tenants, you will be able to make a good deal after the cleanup, as the hoarder’s home will be completely restored to an excellent condition.

 

Recommended Reading:  Digging Out – Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding & Compulsive Acquiring

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information cleaning a hoarder’s home.

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Help a Senior With a Hoarding Problem

Signs That You Need to Check Your Indoor Air Quality

Simple Steps to Ease Your Allergies at Home

How to Safely Clean Away Mold in Your Home

Is Your Indoor Air Making Your Allergies Worse?

Natural Options For Managing Asthma

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Tips For Easier Senior Car Travel

Best Air Purifiers for COPD – Full Reviews

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!  Here’s How …

The Right Lighting Prevents Dangerous Senior Falls

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

Help for Low Vision

 

 

Get Prepared For Summer Camp Season

Get Prepared For Summer Camp Season

 

 

Start Planning Kids’ Summer Recreation Now

 

Many families spend winter figuring out how to chase away cabin fever and endure frigid temperatures until spring and summer mercifully return.  Parents and grandparents thinking ahead to swimming pools and days lounging on the beach can put their daydreams to practical use by planning ahead for their youngsters’ summer vacations.

Youth recreational programs and summer camps can bridge the gap in care between the end of school and the day when classes resume.  Due in part to high demand, parents who want to place their kids in summer recreation programs or summer camps should be vetting such programs and camps well in advance of summer.

 

The Benefits of Summer Camp for Kids

 

I am a huge believer in the summer camp experience for kids, especially these days, when many of today’s youth spend much of their time playing with their digital devices.  Summer camp is great option for parents who want their children to get outdoors once the school year ends, but there are so many other benefits to be had from a session or more of summer camp.

 

 

Kids Explore Their Talents at Kids’ Summer Camp

 

 

Summer camps help young people explore their unique interests and talents.  Under an organized, yet often easygoing camp schedule, kids can dabble in sports, crafts, the visual arts, leadership, community support, and so many other activities that may not be fully available to them elsewhere or during the school year.

 

 

Physical Activity at Kids’ Summer Camp

 

Many camps build their itineraries around physical activities that take place outdoors.  Campers may spend their time swimming, running, hiking, playing sports, climbing and so much more. 

 

 

 

 

This can be a welcome change for kids accustomed to living sedentary lifestyles.  Regular physical activity has many health benefits, and can set a foundation for healthy habits as adults.

 

 

Kids Gain Confidence at Summer Camp

 

 

Day and sleep-away camps offer campers the opportunity to get comfortable in their own skin.  Camps can foster activities which enhance self esteem by removing the academic measures of success and replacing them with noncompetitive opportunities to succeed.  Campers learn independence, decision-making skills, and the ability to thrive outside of the shadow of their parents, siblings, or other students.

 

 

Kids Try New Things at Summer Camp

 

Camp gives children the chance to try new things, whether that’s learning to cook, exploring new environments, or embracing a new sport or leisure activity.  Opening oneself up to new opportunities can build character and prove enlightening for children.

 

 

Kids Make New Friends at Summer Camp

 

 

Camp is a great place to meet new people and make lifelong friends.  Campers flood in from areas near and far, which provides kids with a chance to expand their social circles beyond their immediate neighborhoods and schools. 

 

Searching For a Summer Camp

 

The following are some handy tips for parents and grandparents who want their kids to have fun and fulfilling summers.

 

Determine Your Budget the Kids’ Summer Camp

As varied as program offerings may be, camps can also vary greatly with regard to cost.  Government-run camps may be less expensive than those offered by private companies.  day camps typically cost less than those that provide room and board.  Find out if a particular organization subsidizes a portion of camp costs.

Scouting programs often have a dedicated camp, and may offer affordable options for scouts.  Martial arts schools and dance centers frequently offer day camps, as well.

if camp seems out of reach, look into local summer recreation programs at parks or schools.  Such programs may not be as extensive as those offered by camps, but they can quell kids’ boredom and keep children occupied during the day.

 

Ask For Recommendations For Good Camps

Speak with fellow parents and trusted friends about where they send their children.  Personal recommendations can be very helpful, providing firsthand insight into a particular camp or program.  Schedule appointments to visit camps that fall within your budget.  Take your son or daughter (or grandkids) along, so he or she can get a sense of what camp will be like.

 

Explore All the Kids’ Camp Options

Camps come in more flavors than ever before.  Certain camps may be faith-based ministries, while others may focus on particular sports.  Band camps and art camps may appeal to creative kids.  There are also plenty of general-interest camps that offer various activities without narrowing in on any particular one.

Parents may need to choose between a sleep-away camp or day camps, depending on which camp experience they want for their children.

 

Inquire About Camp Schedules

While many camps are flexible, day camps do not have the same level of flexibility as after-school programs.  Arrangements will need to be made if care is required after regular camp hours.  Speak with camp staff to see which types of after-hours programs, if any, are available.

 

Plan Time Off This Summer For the Kids

In addition to camp, remember to plan for some free days, so children can just enjoy some downtime.  Such days can break up the monotony of a routine and provide kids and families time to relax together.

 

 

Purchase Your Kids’ Summer Camp Supplies Early

According to The Summer Camp Handbook author and psychologist Dr. Christopher Thurber, the most important thing to remember about packing for camp is simple and surprising: Give yourself plenty of time. This will ensure you’re not rushing and forgetting things last-minute and can even help ease nerves about heading off away from home.

 

Recommended Reading:

The Summer Camp Handbook – Everything You Need to Find, Choose, and Get Ready For Camp – And Skip the Homesickness

 

Camp Packing List

Your camp will provide you with a packing list, but even if you don’t yet have the list in hand, you can get started purchasing and organizing supplies that you are sure to need.

Think about which items you already have, and make a list of the items you will need to buy.  If possible, plan to go shopping in advance of the big rush, when all the parents are stocking up on the same items.  This will save you from the stress of “the hunt” when the stores are busy, or when the sizes and styles may not be as plentiful.

I always like to purchase as much online as possible:  if it’s not an item that your child must try out or try on in advance, order it online and have it delivered to your home.  For the other items, plan a shopping trip with your kid(s), and allow plenty of time to find just the right items.  If your kids are happy with the things they bring, it will be one less stressor as they get used to their new surroundings and fellow campers.

Here are the things you and your child will likely need to pack for a typical sleep-away summer camp:

Consider visiting Amazon for some of these supplies.  You’ll find a ton of choices and prices, you’ll be able to read consumer reviews, and if necessary, you can return anything easily.

Plus, they have really cute items you can’t find in the stores, like these:

 

Ozark-Trail Kids Sleeping Bags

 

The Best Ever Fun-Filled Summer Camp Journal Just for Girls
The Best Ever Fun-Filled Summer Camp Journal Just for Girls
My Camp Friends Autograph Pillowcase

 

 

Tie-Died Laundry Bag
Postcards From Camp – 12 Postcard Booklet

 

Okay… I got sidetracked.  Here is the packing list:

 

  • Bandana/scarf
  • Hat
  • Glasses/contacts and cleaning solution
  • Prescription medication
  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles for swimming
  • Dress clothes and coordinating belts and shoes
  • Light jacket
  • Jeans
  • Rain gear or umbrella
  • Shorts
  • Sweatshirt
  • Swimsuit
  • Swim shirt with UV protection
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Underwear
  • Sweatpants or warm-up pants
  • Pajamas
  • Cotton bathrobe
  • Bras
  • Athletic support (jock strap)
  • Boots
  • Cleats
  • Flip-flops
  • Shoes, plus a spare pair
  • Socks
  • Bedding — check with your camp checklist for what, if any, to bring for bedding
  • Hand towels
  • Beach towels — can be used for bath or swimming
  • Shower caddy
  • Comb or brush
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Bug repellant
  • Lip balm
  • Nail clippers
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Shaving cream and razors
  • Soap in carrier
  • Sunblock
  • Tissues
  • Toothbrush, toothbrush container and toothpaste
  • Camera
  • Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Laundry bag
  • Reusable water bottle or canteen
  • Writing paper, pre-addressed envelopes, stamps and/or calling card
  • Spending money (but check with camp for policies)
  • Comforts of home, like a family photo or a stuffed animal
  • Entertainment, like books and deck of cards
  • Small backpack or tote for day trips
  • Medical ID bracelet, if applicable

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Camps benefit children in a variety of ways.  Lessons learned in camp can strengthen values, build confidence, develop coping mechanisms for when adversity strikes, and enable campers to make lifelong friends.

Summer recreation may a little ways off, but it’s never too early to start making summer plans, including finding camps and other activities for the kids.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information on planning some great summer activities for the kids!

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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