Is your child ready for sleep-away camp?
Summer is just around the corner, and for many families that means it's time to start thinking about summer camp. If this would be your child's first foray into the wonderful world of camp, you may wonder whether she is really ready for it.
As with everything else, age isn't necessarily an indicator of readiness. Each child develops at a different rate, and each one will be more ready for things like camp at different times. You know your child best! If you aren't sure whether camp might be a good idea at this stage, ask yourself these questions:
Has your child ever spent more than one night away from you? Was that experience enjoyable for them or stressful?
Does your child like adventure generally, or do they like to play things more safe?
Do they have friends who will be at the camp?
When you mention camp, is your child's reaction interest or apprehension?
Can/does your child take care of personal grooming (teeth brushing, tying shoes, etc.) independently?
Does your child play well with others?
How does your child do with routine and organized activities?
The answers to all of these questions should give you a good idea whether to give camp a go this year, or to put it off for a while. If your child is up for adventure, can do basic tasks independently, is excited by the idea of camp, gets along well with other kids in a structured environment and, above all, wants to go to camp, now might be a good time. If they are stressed by the idea, however, it's probably not a good idea to send them.
Even if you child is up for the idea of camp, it's normal to expect a certain degree of apprehension. It's important to understand the difference between being a little nervous about stepping into the unknown and being so stressed that the entire situation because traumatic. No one knows your child better than you do, so have a conversation with them and find out together whether going to sleep-away camp is a good idea.