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Deciding to send your child to summer camp for the first time can be a tough decision. It can be stressful for you and your child. You might ask yourself many questions:

  • Will my child make friends at camp?
  • What if my child gets home sick?
  • How long should my child go to summer camp for?
  • Should my child go to day camp or an overnight camp?
  • What should I send with my child and what should be left at home?

These are questions every parent thinks about. This guide will help you decide what you need when sending your child to camp!

Essential Guide to Sending Your Child to Camp

Your essential guide to sending your child to camp:

  • Choose a camp together: Decide with your child what type of camp to go to: Day camp or overnight camp? Horseback riding camp? Traditional camp? Taking your child’s wants into consideration will help prevent homesickness and help them get excited about the experience.
  • Plan an appropriate length of stay: If this is your child’s first camp experience, sending your child to overnight camp for a month probably will result in tearful pleas to stay home. An appropriate first experience is a week or two. Once your child sees how fun camp is and is a little older the next year, the stay can be longer if you and your child choose.
  • Practice self help skills: These include cleaning up their dishes after meals, making their bed, putting their clothes away, making sure they are showering quickly, applying their own sunscreen, etc… Many children are accustom to their parents doing these things for them. But when they go to camp–even day camp–camp counselors can’t apply sunscreen to every single camper, help every camper get ready to go swimming, or be responsible for every camper’s belongings.
  • Label, label, label: Speaking of being responsible for belongings, items are bound to get mixed up with other camper’s items. And I guarantee that the cute bathing suit that you bought your kid, someone else bought their kid, too. That’s where these Stuck on You personalized tags come in. They are easier than labeling with a Sharpie and make it easy to see which belongings are your child’s.
  • Prepare envelopes: Pre-address and stamp envelopes for people your child might want to send letters to. But don’t expect letters! It’s going to be more likely that your child is having so much fun that they’ll forget to even send you a letter telling you how much fun they are having!
  • What to send: Day and overnight camps will provide you with lists of what you need to send. Avoid sending unnecessary extras. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but having extra things for your child to carry at day camp or extra things to try to stow away at overnight camp will only be a hassle.
  • Relax: Don’t dwell and talk about how much you will miss your child while they are gone. Focus on the positives of what they will be doing and how you can’t wait to hear about it all. Talking about how much you’re going to miss your child will only promote homesickness, something everyone wants to avoid!

Ultimately, sending your child to camp might be harder on you than it is on your child. Many children go to camp and make friends and memories that last a lifetime!