You’ve done your research and have chosen a summer camp for your child. With just a few weeks left before your child goes to camp, here are 8 tips from the American Camp Association, NY and NJ to ensure your child has a great summer.
- Share positive messages – It’s important to share positive messages about camp with your child. Often times as the first day approaches, children feel some apprehension. Talk about all the fun activities your child will participate in and how you know he or she will have a great time at camp.
- Revisit the camp website and video – Re-watch the camp video and revisit the camp’s website. Take a look at the program, activities, photos and sample schedule on the website. Your child will be more comfortable knowing what to expect at camp and watching the video will get your child even more excited for the first day of camp.
- Pack together – If your child is going to sleepaway camp, take the time to pack together. Your child will feel more secure if they know what they are bringing to camp and you can use that packing time to talk to your child about camp. Check the camp’s packing list for guidance and remember to pre-address some envelopes for younger campers. Encourage your child to pack something personal like a family photo or favorite stuffed animal as a nice reminder from home.
- Honor the camp’s technology list – Parents should read the camp’s policy on technology carefully and respect the items the camp asks you to leave at home such as smart phones and ipads. Each camp has their own policy on what is allowed at camp and parents should honor it.
- Don’t make pick up deals – Whether your child is going to day or sleepaway camp, don’t tell your child you will pick him or her up from camp if they don’t like it. You are sending your child the message that you don’t believe he or she will be successful at camp. Your child may need some time to adjust, just like with any new experience. Keep in mind that campers adjust quickly and camp directors are well prepared to help children through the transition.
- Pre-camp events – Many day and sleepaway camps will host pre-camp events at camp for first time campers so children can meet other campers and the staff, easing some of the first day jitters campers may feel. If your child is going to day camp, it may be the first time he or she takes a bus. Some camps have the buses do a run through to the homes before the first day so the camper can meet their bus counselor and feel more comfortable.
- Send a letter ahead of time – Write a letter ahead of time so it arrives within the first few days of camp. Let your child know you will miss him or her, but you know how much fun camp is and that you can’t wait to receive a letter back with all the great camp news.
- Don’t talk about all the fun you will have when your child is at camp – While your child is at day or sleepaway camp, you may have some nice activities planned. Try to refrain from discussing these plans with your child. Children may feel like they are missing out on fun you are having without them, which can make them feel homesick.