Summer camp is a great way to get your child interested in new activities, more comfortable with new people, and independent when away from familiar surroundings. No matter what type of camp they attend, they will learn how to work with a group, make new friends, and take direction from both adults and peers. The activities at camp can be to strengthen current skills, such as a sport or instrument. At other camps, kids will be introduced to new activities, such as horseback riding or rock climbing.
No matter what type of camp your child is attending, he or she needs to be ready. Being ready for camp means that your child not only has the essentials to take with them, but also that they are mentally prepared to be away from you for a week or more. In addition, are you ready to let your child go away as well?
Are Your Kids Ready?
Ask yourself, can my son or daughter stay over a friend’s house overnight without any issues? If they gladly leave their home for a night or two and are excited about it, they are probably ready. If not, have them start practicing. Maybe a sleepover at Grandma’s house first. Or a friend who lives close by. Encourage them to branch out, and let them know you are there if needed. This could take some time, and your child may need to wait another school year before attending camp, but you’ll feel better, and save yourself an unexpected trip to camp to pick up your sad or upset child, if you prepare them ahead of time.
Are You Ready?
As a parent, are you ready to let your child go away without you for a week? Do your research so that you are confident in which camp you are sending your child to, and that their program and policies fit your child’s interests and needs. Remember that new activities are a good thing, and these short trips away from home prepare your son or daughter for independence later in life.
Preparing them Mentally
Talk to your child about what they think their experience at camp will be like. If you went as a child, tell them some of your own stories, always keeping them positive. Let them know that they can call you whenever needed, and that there will be other kids just like them there who have never been to camp as well. Involve them in preparing for camp, shopping for necessities and scheduling.
What to Bring
When you start packing for camp, make sure to get a list of what is provided for your child by the camp. Each camp is different, and some will require your child to bring certain things, like bedding, while others will not. In addition to the necessities, have your son or daughter bring an item or two that reminds them of home and makes them feel comfortable. A particular blanket, pillow or stuffed animal can help.
As a parent, keeping your stories and thoughts positive about summer camp can make a huge different to your child’s overall experience. Of course things might not always go as smoothly as one would like, but like any other day, teaching your child to adapt and adjust to varying situations will enhance their time at camp, and in life in general. Your support and positive energy can often flow over to your child, so stay positive, encourage participation while at camp, and make sure to call every day, especially if this is their first time.