It is the time of year when parents begin planning summer activities for the children and summer camp often comes into view. Camp is a great learning experience for children, allowing them the opportunity to learn independence, gain self-confidence, increase resilience, enjoy fun activities, make friends for life, learn, and grow. It is a big deal for a child, particularly if he or she hasn’t done anything like camp before.
Of course, if you are considering sending your child to summer camp for the first time, making the decision can be challenging and filled with concerns. After all, how do you know when your child is emotionally ready for a summer camp experience? In truth, the is no ideal answer, as every child is unique. Even so there are some questions you can ask to determine your child’s potential readiness for camp.
Is this the Right Time?
As you make the decision about summer camp, remember not everyone is ready to go to camp at the same time. Summer sleep-away camp is a big deal, so if your child has difficultly at sleepovers with family or friends, away from you, you may want to wait another year. If, on the other hand, your child enjoys spending the night away from you, he or she might be ready for summer camp.
Ask yourself if your child adjusts well in unfamiliar environments or if he or she handles new experiences well. Does your child make friends easily? If the answer is yes and your son or daughter adapts easily, he or she may be ready for summer camp. Another important question is how well your child copes with disappointment, sadness, or anger. While summer camps strive for the best possible experience and loads of fun, meeting new friends and performing unfamiliar activities can cause awkward moments for almost any child. Of course, at camp your child will have trained, caring counselors to help them through the challenges, whether it is a bout of homesickness, a misunderstanding with a new friend, or the frustration of trying something new.
One final question, which you need to ask yourself is are you emotionally ready to let your child go. If you aren’t, he or she will recognize your discomfort. If your child wants to go, but you are uncertain of his or her readiness, discuss it openly. Your child should be able to explain why camp is so important and in turn you can encourage your child in enjoying the camp experience while quieting your own concerns.
If you remain unsure, contact your camp team, providing an honest assessment of your child and discussing how you might partner to ensure your child has the best possible experience. Keep in mind that staff members, like the ones at Camp Live Oak, are trained to help your child overcome the challenges he or she may face successfully and enjoy the camp experience.
The excitement, fun, and challenges your child encounters at camp are experiences which are a normal part of growing up. At camp, you child can face the adventures with trained counselors as their guides and return home with greater self-confidence, stronger and more independent than when you gave them the gift of summer camp.
Preparing for a Summer Camp Experience
Whether you feel your child is ready or you have a bit of apprehension, there are a number of ways you can prepare both you and your child for the summer camp experience. Begin by sharing your fun camp experiences with your child. Discuss all the fun he or she will have trying exploring new interests, meeting new friends, and learning new things. As you work toward the first day at camp, keep your child actively involved in the planning, shopping, and packing for his or her summer camp adventure.