Overnight summer camp is a wonderful preposition for your child to sleep away with friends. Meeting new people, new adventures, lifetime of bonding and enchanting memories for life. But before we send them away this summer, let us find out “is my child ready for overnight summer camp” as sometimes we may have started too early or other times delayed too much. As parents we are not very sure about the first time our kids wish for a sleepover at a summer camp.
Sometimes age 8 looks too early and sometimes age 6 looks too late, for, it is not a mathematical function of age. But it is more about the other aspects which need to be carefully examined. Right age varies from child to child and from kind of summer program being opted. American Camping Association CEO states right age for an overnight summer camp is 7-9 but he again emphasizes it can also be as early as 6 for, some kids mature faster.
Check campnavigator for an elaborate listing on various kinds of camps.
Is my child ready for overnight summer camp, sharing an overnight readiness checklist:
1- Has he or she slept away from home and not at grandparents:
If your child has slept away from home at a friends place and there has been no separation anxiety or homesickness. Then this is a positive sign that he or she might be ready for the plunge. Also a few nights or just one night away? for the overnight summer camp may have a couple of nights or even more night away. Be sure to check accordingly and appropriately.
2- Has your child been getting ready by themselves:
A child must be able to wash, bathe and do all the morning chores himself to be able to attend the overnight summer camp. Starting from brushing their teeth to potty training, they must be practiced to do it all. There maybe assistance from camp counselors but largely your child would have to do it themselves.
3- Is this summer camp first ever one for your child:
If your child has had experiences for day camps before and has been wonderful with them, then you can try for an overnight summer camp. But if this is the first ever camping experience and has overnight stay, then check for more readiness details before opting for an elaborate camp with a week or over, night away.
4- Is the camp chosen by your little one:
If your child has been actively involved in searching summer camps with you and has picked this one over the rest, then its a sure sign the child is ready for most of it. There maybe situations, even grown ups tend to feel homesick but otherwise if the camp is appealing and enchanting for your child, then its a check on the readiness scale
5- Can your child read:
If your child can read well and is able to understand that too, it is a good time to begin with overnight summer camps. As they will be able to read and understand the camp program and daily notices. This will help them to be prepared for the upcoming activities. And surprises at first over night summer camps may cause anxiety too
6- Is the camp a short one:
For the first time over night camps for your little one, choose a shorter span for camp. A night or few nights must be easy and enriching for them to continue it ahead year after year. If the camp is over a week or fortnight, this may cause some homesickness and even turn out the other way round. Your child may start disliking the camps so much that they would refuse them anytime again
7- Are your kids best friends also going:
If there are some good friends also going to the overnight summer camp, this is a great positive sign. Being a part with your own gang makes for a little less anxiety. Children are fond of each other and may have spent sleepovers together too, so this would be a great experience for them.
8- What are the pull back strategies for camp counselors:
Ask the camp counselor for specific pull back strategies for when the little one starts feeling homesick and low. There are ample fun filled events and adventurous activities that must be set up for bringing them back in the camp mode. These power packed activities would ensure the child does not get enough free time to start missing family again
9- Talk to your child:
It is always better to include your child in every aspect of summer camp planning. The child must be happy and pleased about the upcoming camp. Talk about their anxieties and fears, also help them understand the importance of the camps. Make them believe this would be an adventurous experience, truly memorable for them. Bring up your own camp memories and share with them. This will help in connecting well
[Read: Benefits of summer camps]
10- Check and discuss with the camp director, about your own anxieties:
As a parent its even tougher to stay away from your child. Discussing with camp director would help you understand if the camp activities are fair and enriching for your child to be happy while away. Also make sure to inform all the accommodations you wish for your child. They may be snoring at night, occasional bed-wetter, or needing some night lamps while sleeping. This must be ensured to avoid any embarrassment for your child.
The above compilation on “Is my child ready for overnight summer camp?”, is based on learnings and experiences from past. These are specially important for all who are still unsure about sending your child away for an overnight camp. Some of the time we may be too eager to send or too possessive about our little one. Be sure to check every details before opting for the summer camp, and keep exploring your little one for more details on their personal readiness.
Check campnavigator for more updates on camps and camp reviews, be sure to pick your fit now. Share ahead and keep writing us, we love hearing from you!
By Minu Manisha
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