Finding a safe place for your child to have fun throughout the summer months can be a daunting task for any parent, especially for a child who may require closer attention for a chronic cardiac condition. You may be left wondering: How can I make sure my child has opportunities to play and explore with their peers while also ensuring they are safe and well taken care of?
The good news is there are many opportunities for children living with a cardiac condition or chronic illness to attend summer camps, where they can be free to just be kids. Going to camp provides children with traditional benefits such as meeting new friends and gaining independence, and the opportunity to pursue and discover new activities and hobbies.
Summer camps can provide an opportunity for kids with a cardiac condition or other chronic illness to connect with peers who have experienced similar medical treatments. This can help to reduce feelings of isolation that some children experience. According to the American Camp Association (ACA), some other benefits include reducing disease-related anxiety and supporting a positive self-perception.
Some camps even have medical staff who are trained to care for your child’s unique medical needs. As the ACA states, “First and foremost, they are still children — and want to be treated the same as children … with opportunities to run, play, swim, and enjoy being with other kids.”
Some camps allow siblings to attend as well, which can promote bonding. In a study by the Children and Youth Services Review, campers “perceived camp as a place for sense of belonging, personal growth, and escape.”
If you are interested in providing a camp experience for your child, speak with your medical team about whether or not it would be safe for your child to attend a camp. Your team may also be aware of nearby camps that could be beneficial for your child with trusted medical personnel.