Deciding Summer Camps

Your child can help decide where to go to camp

Summer may seem far away but it’s not too early to start planning your child’s summer camp adventure. Get prepared for summer camp by including your child in the decision-making process, and getting a head start on homesickness prevention.

Many camp registrations open early and some of the best camps fill up quickly, according to SummerCampHandbook.com, a free, online guide to summer camps for parents and kids, so if you’re thinking about sending your child to camp, don’t wait.

Before deciding on a camp, consider including your child in the decision-making process. As a parent, you may be able to make decisions about what kind of camp your child needs, whether it be a sleep-away or day camp, but your child may have a strong opinion on what type of camp they want to attend. Once you have figured out a schedule for camp, taking into consideration work schedules, family vacations and other commitments, you can begin to discuss with your child what type of camp would be best for them.

When it comes to selecting a camp for summer, or even for spring break, you may need to compromise if you and your child don’t see eye-to-eye. Try finding middle ground by looking for a camp that combines both of your wants and needs.

“Regardless of the age of your child, it is important that the ultimate selection of a camp accommodate all or some of the interests, goals and expectations of both parent and child,” according to information found at SummerCamp.org.After you and your child have selected a specific camp, it is time to start getting him/her ready for the event. Homesickness can be a point of concern for younger children so preparing them for separation early can help.

"Homesickness is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home. It’s characterized by acute longing and preoccupying thoughts of home and other beloved objects,” according to SummerCampHandbook.com, whose research found that about 95 percent of children experience at least some level of homesickness, but extreme homesickness while at summer camp was found to be rare.

To prevent homesickness, discuss it openly. Listen to your children’s concerns and try to ease their minds by staying positive and keeping your own doubts to yourself. Practicing brief separations from home prior to camp, using a wall calendar to show your child time specifics of their scheduled camp and allowing your child to bring one comfort item from home have all been noted as suggestions for controlling homesickness.

For more information about homesickness and ways to prevent it, visit CampSpirit.com.

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