Going to sleepaway camp for the first time is a big step for most children. Sleepaway camp can help kids assert their independence and gain a measure of self-confidence and resilience. Kids also have the opportunity to learn and grow, take part in fun activities, and meet life-long friends. And because it is such a big step, it is important to know when your children are ready and how to help them prepare for sleepaway camp and make the separation successful.
Knowing When the Time is Right
In many cases, you’ll know when the time is right for summer sleepaway camp for your child. It is important to keep in mind that every child is unique and not every child is ready at the same time or the same age. Chances are if your child has had a good experience at summer day camps and can spend the night away from home with friends, he or she might be ready for sleepaway camp. If, on the other hand, your child has had some issues with sleepovers or has struggled with making new friends at summer day camp, you and your child may want to wait one more year. At camp, kids learn great autonomy in navigating everyday situations without their parents, but not every child or parent is ready for the experience at the same time.
Which leads to the question, “Are you ready for your child to go to sleepaway camp?” If you, as a parent, aren’t truly ready, your child will sense your unease. If your child is itching to go, but you aren’t sure he or she is ready, talk about it. Ask your child why they want to go and then encourage them in all the ways he or she will enjoy the camp experience. Not only will you give them confidence, but if you have doubts, encouraging your child will likely quell your concerns. Remember, camp staffers, like those at Camp Live Oak, are trained professionals who know how to help your child successfully overcome any obstacles he or she may face at camp and enjoy the sleepaway camp experience.
Getting Your Child Ready to Go
While in some families sleepaway camp is a tradition, while other families, though excited for the experience, might be a bit apprehensive. Most children are ready between the ages of eight and 12 years old. Telling your children about your own fun camp experiences is a great way to help them prepare as is telling them all the fun new activities they’ll get to try while at overnight camp. And it won’t be only fun and games, but kids also learn valuable skills for life, like keeping their belongings clean and organized, making new friends, getting along with others, and doing activities that are outside their comfort zones.
When the decision is made to go, talk to your child about camps which might have the most appeal. Keep in mind there are camps to cater to nearly everyone from traditional to religious, sports to science, dance to technology. As you offer suggestions, keep in mind your child’s personality, the potential camp’s location, and your budget as well. Narrow down your choices and visit the camps under consideration, check out websites, view YouTube videos of the camps, and get a feel for the culture and personality of each camp. Discuss the options with your child and make the decision together.
Prepping for Sleepaway Camp
As the time for draws near for sleepaway camp, talk with your child about the possibility of homesickness and the fact that nearly all campers experience and overcome it. Discuss all the activities he or she is looking forward to at camp what will be expected – like participation in new activities, meeting new friends, and learning new skills. Allow your child to be actively involved in shopping for camp supplies and packing for adventure.
With these helpful tips, you and your child while be ready to enjoy sleepaway summer camp when the time is right!