Picked a Camp? Try These Tips for a Successful Summer Experience

Now that you (hopefully) have chosen a camp for your child, be confident. You wouldn’t have made that decision if you didn’t believe your child was ready for it.

Let your child know you are confident they will adjust well to camp life. Refer to positive experiences when they’ve been away from home overnight with friends, relatives, or a Scouting group. And heighten your child’s interest by pointing out exciting things you remember about going to camp.

It’s OK to let your child know that they might experience homesickness and that it is normal and natural. But avoid statements like “I’m going to miss you terribly.” You don’t want your child to feel guilty about leaving you.

If your child is still attached to their “blankie” or a stuffed animal but hesitant to take it with them, pack it in the zipper of their pillowcase. That way, they can have the security of having it without “going public.” 

Open communication with the camp director is key. 

If your child may be predisposed to homesickness due to circumstances at home (e.g., a pending divorce or a severe illness in the family), sharing this information up front prepares camp leaders to take a little extra care should your child need it. 

Find out how parents and children keep in touch at your child’s camp. Camps’ policies about emails, letters, and phone calls vary. Review these with your child in advance. 

During camp, write often. Your child will enjoy hearing their name called out when the mail arrives. But don’t provide so much detail about life at home that it could make your child feel they’re missing out on something.

Care packages and spending money can be a real treat if the camp allows them.

Don’t overreact to initial reports of homesickness, and don’t offer to pick your child up early. Almost all campers experience it at some point, but it typically passes in one to two days.

If you receive an unhappy letter that makes you uncomfortable about some aspect of camp, call the camp director to discuss it. 

Enjoy your time while your child is at camp. 

It may give you alone time with one of your other children or opportunities to enjoy time to yourself and with your spouse, significant other, or friends. 

Make this a memorable experience for you in addition to the one you’re giving your child.

Happy camping!

Reach Helene Abrams with Tips on Trips and Camps, a free advisory service that helps parents find enriching summer overnight experiences for their children, ages 7-18, at 214-693-9259 or [email protected].

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Helene Abrams

Helene Abrams, of the free advisory service Tips on Trips and Camps, helps parents find enriching summer overnight experiences for their children. Reach her at 214-484-8141 or [email protected]

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