Sending your child to an overnight summer camp is a wonderful decision. It can provide your child with a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience and a wealth of memories that they will hold on to for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, there is one problem: they have never been to an overnight camp before. So, for all of you first-timers out there, here are three tips to help ensure that your child's first overnight camp is a good one.
Tip #1: Send Them for a Sleepover
It isn't uncommon for some children that are going to overnight camp to have never spent the night away from home – well, expect for maybe at Grandma's. So, send your child to an aunt or uncle's house for a night. While it may be a bit uncomfortable at first, this experience will allow your child to gain some confidence in sleeping away from home. Just try not to go pick them up if they call you at 2 a.m.
Tip #2: Go on a Shopping Spree
Chances are, your child is going to need a few things for overnight camp. Instead of picking up these things yourself, take your child along for the ride so that he or she feels like he or she is part of the process. Pick up a new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste, a sleeping bag (if you don't have one already), a water misting fan for those really hot days, travel-sized soaps and shampoos, and a notepad and pen/pencil so that your child can write you letters while at camp.
Tip #3: Manage Their Expectations
Since your child has never been to overnight camp before, it makes sense that he or she is probably nervous. Don't calm those fears by saying everything will be fine, there is nothing to worry about, and that he or she will love camp. While all of this is probably true, and positivity is great, you want to be truthful and let your child know that he or she may be a bit uncomfortable at first as he or she gets used to be away from home. Talk to your child about a way to fight through his or her fears when he or she feels them coming on, such as writing a letter to home, drawing pictures, listening to music, reading a book, etc.
If you are interested in sending your child to co-ed summer camps in New England, get in touch with the director of a summer camp to find out more details.