Is your child going away to camp for the first time? It’s important to remember that even though the word camp may elicit pictures of fun and adventure, a child who is going to summer camp for the first time ever may experience anxiety and the prospect of homesickness. That’s why a major part of helping your child get ready for summer camp about helping him get ready for it emotionally.
- Let your child choose which summer camp to go to. It all starts with involving your child in the selection process. If he has ownership in the decision-making process as to which camp he will go to, and if the camp’s activities are aligned with his own interests, he will be more excited about going there.
- Consider letting your child go to a camp with his friends. If he has some close friends with whom he shares the same interests, you could plan with the parents to send them both to the same camp. This way, he can be more comfortable with the thought that there is at least one good friend that he can hang out with at camp.
- Go through the camp activities and programs. Visit the website of the camp or look through the brochure, so that your child will know what to expect. The more familiar he is with what will happen at camp and the more he knows what to expect, the more comfortable he will be to go through it.
- Allow him to bring items from home. He could bring with him a pillow or other personal items; this will help him cope with homesickness better.
- Help your child plan for the things to bring. This is of course one of the most essential points that you and your child need to prepare for. As you study the program and the activities for the camp, this will help you get an idea as to what clothes and items to bring. You could also call up the camp office and ask for essential items to bring.
- Brief your child on things to do in case he gets homesick. Reassure your child that in case he gets homesick, he could always send you a letter or call you up. If the camp will allow it and if your child is old enough to handle a cell phone, you may want to allow him to bring his cell phone for emergency purposes. This will at least help him feel reassured that home is always just a phone call away.
- Bring your child to camp in advance. In case you have the time and if it’s relatively near your home, you could bring your child to visit the camp before it actually starts. This way, his anxiety about the unknown will be reduced, and he will feel more prepped emotionally to deal with going to a place away from home.
There you have it! These are some of the best ways to help your child
prepare for summer camp. The most important thing to remember is that
your child will be a big part of the camp selection and preparation
process, because the more engaged he is with this the more ready and
excited he will be for his camping experience. Good luck!