How to Prepare Kids for Summer Camp
These camps are not your run-of-the-mill camps either. From highly specialized STEM and sports camps to traditional outdoor camps, there is something for everyone.
However, heading off to camp is easier said than done. Especially when it comes to first-time campers or parents, several questions can lead to understandable anxieties. We have put together some tips on preparing your kids (and yourself) for summer camp.
Is Your Child Ready for Camp?
Every child is different, and because of that, so is every child’s readiness to be apart from their family unit. Separation anxiety is prevalent in children in the 7-8-year-old range, which is when many overnight camps start.
Gauging your child's interest in summer camp is a good way to start preparing your child for camp. Ask questions to see if they are truly interested in going to summer camp. Forcing a child to go to an overnight camp when they struggle with spending the night away with family is not going to bode well for their experience.
One way to test the waters is with day camps, as they will have all of the same opportunities that they would as an overnight camper while being able to go home at the end of each day.
Finding the Right Summer Camp
Because there are so many options, finding the right summer camp can go a long way in preparing your child for overnight stays away from parents. Summer camps are no longer just a place to send your kid for the summer but instead a way to deep dive into their passions.
By picking out a camp that caters to your child's interests, you can ensure that they will have the time of their life in a more enriching environment.
If your child has a chronic illness or disability, there are summer camps that cater to their more specialized needs. These camps offer a sense of community that they may not find elsewhere while also providing extra care to ensure that they are safe.
Once you have narrowed down camps based on needs and interests, feel free to speak to the camp director or parents of kids who have attended the camp. Check on accreditations and their safety record.
If possible, take your child to visit the camp to get a feel for the environment and the attitudes of the staff. At the end of the day, you are putting your trust in a camp to take care of your child's safety.
Gather Needed Supplies
Every camp should have a packing list based on the type of camp and length of stay. Picking out comfortable clothing and shoes can go a long way in giving a child confidence when spending time away from home. Also, be sure to grab any specialized items needed for the type of camp.
Take your child shopping and let them help pack, as it will foster excitement for their upcoming adventure. Don’t forget to label your child's belongings so that they don't get mixed up with others. Follow the packing list like it is the ten commandments, making sure that you pack all of the must-have items as well as leaving prohibited items at home.
Get Your Child a Check-Up
Along with your packing list and medical forms, it is a good idea to go ahead and schedule a physical in advance. Many camps require a physical to attend camp, so make sure that you can get an appointment before you run out of time.
These things are done to help ensure your child is healthy and ready to participate in activities. Also, updated information about any prescriptions and allergies is key to keeping your child safe.
Get Ready for Overnight Stays!
The hardest part of overnight camp for most children is the separation anxiety that they experience when away from their everyday lives. One way to help prepare for overnight stays is to arrange stays with grandparents or close friends. This can help get them accustomed to being away from home.
When packing, find a few items to send with your child that will remind them at home. This can help your child deal with homesickness. Also, talk to your child about dealing with anxiety. Assure them that the staff and camp counselors are there for their safety and enjoyment.
Sending your child to summer camp for the first time can be one of the toughest milestones of their adolescence. However, by putting in the work to prepare your child for camp, you can ensure that they have all the tools they need to successfully cope and enjoy their summer camp experience.
Camp Tekoa - The Premier NC Mountain Summer Camp
Located in Hendersonville in the NC mountains, Camp Tekoa is the perfect place to send your child for a memorable summer camp experience that is safe and Christ-Centered. To learn more about Camp Tekoa or register your child for an upcoming summer session, contact us today!