How do we handle children’s discipline at Lucky Kids summer camp?

At LuckyKids International Camp we don’t deal with children – we take care of them, help them, encourage them and stimulate them. At LuckyKids International Camp we don’t like the word discipline in the sense of imposing rules for control.

We have basic rules that we want to be followed by all children, but they are designed to give peace and pleasant coexistence, as well as security to all participants. It will probably sound contradictory and we will explain this in detail.

Communication hygiene – Exchange of information and symbiosis between the three countries – parents-camp team-children

A very important factor for the well-being of everyone in the camp is the active communication between the parents, the camp team and the children. There are cases when even if they are not on the territory of the hotel, the parents are actively involved in the process of adaptation and care for the children. What does this approach require?

When children go to camp, they have to live with complete strangers – children and employees for a specific period of time.

Every child comes from a different society with certain rules. His understanding of good relations, what is right and what is no different from that of any other camper. For how the child will behave in the camp, family values ​​and rules that his own family follows play an important role.

Sometimes some rules seem too strict to children or meaningless. It is extremely important for the camp team to communicate with the parent in such situations and together with him to explain the need for this rule to the child. Therefore, parents have the opportunity to communicate with the camp team at any time of the day while their child is in camp (and sometimes after).

Camp regulations

Each child and parent gets acquainted with the basic rules of the camp in advance. The regulations are publicly available on the camp website. If a parent or child does not agree with the rules, he has the right to choose another place for vacation. There are rules that can be changed due to specific situations and those that cannot.

An example of a fixed rule is: children are not allowed to use telephones during their stay in the camp, except at the exact time set for this activity every day from 20:30 to 22:00.

An example of a rule that can be changed is: children are required to take part in all activities of the camp program. If the health condition does not allow it, if the child has special needs, then we can adapt the rule on his abilities in order to include him in the maximum number of activities  without endangering his health.

Although participation in all activities is mandatory, this rule is often used as a sanction because children are very willing to participate in the activities quite voluntarily. But if their behavior was rude and unacceptable or they committed an act that hurt another child, then they could be once deprived of participation in the camp.

The rules in the camp apply to everyone – children, teachers, animators and parents. There are no exceptions!

Upon arrival at the camp, we conduct mandatory training, which includes the definition of the basic rules in the camp. In advance the parents acquaint the children with the rules, but the purpose of this meeting – instruction is to show the children the meaning of all the rules. In the same regulations, in addition to obligations, rights are also specified, because every member of the LuckyKids society has such.

The instruction is informal and includes all participants in the camp. Children are free to ask questions about anything they do not understand. And when the rules are clear to everyone, everyone agrees to follow them without any problems.

Often after the briefing, we notice relief on the faces of the participants in the camp. They begin to feel calm and secure that they are safe – a very important factor for a nice and enjoyable experience.

The camp team does not re-educate children. The camp team strives to be an example of behavior and proper attitude, to observe universal norms of behavior and to be caring for all nurseries in the camp. We can show values, virtues and respect for the human person. This is also expected of all children and parents in the camp in relation to other participants, staff and all other units.

Sanctions: all sanctions applied by the camp team are described in detail in the regulations. There is no action taken by the camp team against a child without notifying the parent. Sometimes we even apply individual sanctions to the advice parents give us because they tell us what would be beneficial as an action for their child.

Often the sanction for wrongdoing is constructive and aims at the child to learn something, to realize something and to change his attitude of his own choosing. The final sanction – expulsion from the camp, is used in very extreme cases, when the child is life-threatening and the health of the other participants in the camp or their own safety.

Accustoming to responsibility for one’s own actions

Participation in the camp gives each child the opportunity to imagine how he or she would live independently and without parental care (conditionally speaking, as custody has been transferred to the camp team). This is a completely new society for the child (especially if he is visiting the camp for the first time).

Often children do not realize that every action has a consequence (not only in the bad sense of the word but also in the good one). Protected by a parent, older brother or sister, they have no clear idea of ​​the consequences of an action or inaction.

For example: a joke is made, to chase and flood with water at 22:30 at night in the room (well, it’s fun, but also all mattresses, sheets, pillows, curtains, appliances are wet). Result: inability of children to go to bed, wet room, danger of accident with an electrical appliance.

The sanction is: carrying mattresses and pillows, placing dry sheets, absorbing water personally by the children with the help of animators and hotel staff. Realizing that they have nowhere to lie down and will have to perform these actions, the children have no desire to repeat such entertainments in the room. In this case, the only strictness shown by the camp team will be in the categoricalness that the children will perform the same follow-up actions every time they decide to have fun in this way in the room.

“Pie – paid”

The camp team is not addicted and does not create prejudices for the children because of their one-time actions. Each sanction is carried out in relation to the specific activity and is not transferred as a more specific attitude in the eventual future actions of the child.We do not harbor bad feelings for naughty children. On the contrary – sometimes we lack them. The camp team does not hint and does not recall past wrongdoing.

We always strive to concentrate on the positive and to encourage the development of virtues in every camper. For now, this attitude has a very beneficial effect on everyone and on the environment in general.

Every parent is welcome to take part as an observer in camp activities (albeit from a distance). Parents can observe the campers, but not be direct participants in their activities. Every parent who is on the territory of the hotel during the camp can personally see the positive impact of such a policy on children – participants.

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