Is your child ready for camp?

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Your child going to summer camp for the first time is a big step in his or her life.   While it is an exciting time, your child going to camp may cause some nervousness for your child.  So how do you know when the right time is to send your child to camp?   Consider the following when figuring out whether your child is ready for camp and how to prepare your child for the experience.  

 

 

Interest & Readiness - Talk to your child about camp and see if he or she has interest in going. Does your child sound excited about the idea?  Is your child able to separate from you for long periods of time? Remember, the decision to go to camp should be made together.  Keep in mind that the more involved children are in the process, the more ownership they feel. This helps ease concerns about camp, and can help make a child’s camp experience more successful.

Age - You want to consider your child’s age when considering camp. Day camps are designed for children three-years-old and up.  Children can go to sleepaway camp at seven-years-old, but, families should keep in mind that just because a child is a certain age doesn’t mean he or she is emotionally ready for sleepaway camp.

Day or Sleepaway- Day camp is often a child’s first experience away from home and a step towards independence. Day camp gives campers the best of both worlds:  camp and home.  If you are considering sleepaway camp, make sure your child has had successful overnights away from home with friends and relatives.  Were these overnights positive experiences?  You want to make sure your child is mature enough to go away for an extended period of time and that that he or she can do certain things independently like showering, getting dressed and brushing their teeth.

Expectations – Learn about the camp program ahead of time and create positive expectations for your child.  Talk about camp in the months leading up to camp.  Visit the camp's website together and watch the camp video.  Tour the camp ahead of time when possible.  The more comfortable a child feels, the more successful their camp experience is likely to be.

Positive Messages - It is important for parents to share positive messages about summer camp.  It is common for a child to have some apprehension as the first day of camp approaches—encourage your child to talk about these feelings.  Let your child know you are confident in your child’s ability to have a wonderful summer camp experience