First Time Jitters: How To Encourage Your Child When Going To Overnight Camp

For many children, summer brings along with it a life-changing rite of passage. Going off to overnight summer camp is a major lesson in both independence and leadership. For some children (and parents!), the thought of going away for camp without mom or dad can be very scary. The following are some things you can do to ease any worries both you and your child may have while also ensuring that the time away will be filled with fun and excitement: 

Take A Tour

One great thing to do when considering different camps to attend is to take a tour of the facilities. You all can walk around the grounds to not only see where your child will be going this summer, but also to allow him or her to familiarize themselves with the facility.

Be sure to walk around and check out the cabins or bunkhouses, bathhouses, the cafeteria, and the recreation areas. You may also want to speak to the camp director at these visits just to see how he or she interacts. Check out several different camps and allow your child to decide which one he or she likes the best. This will help foster excitement and anticipation rather than fear of going away.

Practice Ahead Of Time

If your child has little to no experience being away from you overnight, a great thing to do is to practice ahead of camp. Have your child sleep over at his or her grandparent's house or with a trusted adult. This will allow the child to be outside his or her normal element at home and begin to understand how to adapt to new and different situations. This will also tell you if your child is truly ready to go away to overnight camp. If there is any anxiety or fear, it may not be the best time to send your child to camp until he or she is ready.

Don't Push It

Sometimes children are just not ready to go away from home, despite age or experience spending the night away. Keep this in mind when making a decision to sending your child to camp. While you should be encouraging, by no means should you ever be forceful or push the child to attend. This can have serious repercussions that could lead to the child never wanting to go away. If your child is resistant, think of some other ways you can engage your child this summer. There is always next year!