Now that spring has sprung, it's time for most parents to start considering what they are going to do with their children this summer. For parents of young children, they may continue with the status quo, such as daycare, but for school-age children, many parents consider sending their child to overnight camp. If you're one of them, here are three questions to ask yourself when considering sleep-away summer camp for the first time.
How Old Is Your Child?
Many summer camps begin accepting children at the age of eight. Others have facilities that cater to older age groups. As their parent, you know best what your child's capabilities are. A shy 8-year old child who has been home-schooled and largely sheltered may be outside of their comfort zone if sent to overnight summer camp at this young age. In comparison, a gregarious 8-year old who has been active in school activities and has spent time away from their parents may be completely ready for sleepover summer camp. If you feel your child may have difficulty with being away from you for an extended period of time, consider a day camp instead.
What Interests Does Your Child Have?
Some overnight summer camps simply allow the children to enjoy the great outdoors, swimming and hiking in the woods and doing arts and craft activities or playing games. This is especially great for urban children who rarely get out of the city. But there are lots of camps that cater to specific interests your child might have, such as science or cooking. Choose an overnight summer camp that will allow your child to expand their horizons, gain independence, and stimulate his interests. If they are excited to be there, they will be less likely to get homesick.
Are You Ready?
Often times, it's not the child who is nervous but rather the parents instead. Sending your "baby" off to overnight summer camp for the first time can be difficult for many parents, even when they feel confident their child is ready for the experience. Do your research and choose a camp you feel completely comfortable with. Ask questions about the staff, safety, activities, diet, schedule, and anything else you feel is important. Being armed with this information will go a long way in helping you feel secure in your choice. You also want to be careful to not transfer your fears to your child. Instead, remind yourself you have raised your child to be intelligent and capable and trust they will make the right decisions when away from you, all while being guided by skilled and caring camp counselors and coaches.