Aside from the Packing: Tips on Trips and Camps Suggests What to Do to Get Your Child and Yourself Ready for Camp?

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Tips on Trips and Camps offers insightful tips, both practical and emotional to ensure a successful summer experience for parents as well as the camper. Making the decision about where to send your child to camp may be the easy part.

Getting Ready For Camp

Getting Ready For Camp

Be confident in your decision to send your child to camp. Camp will be a wonderful experience and you wouldn’t have made that decision if you didn’t believe your child was ready for it.

Now that you have made the camp decision, you may be wondering how to prepare for the summer. Everyone knows about the dreaded packing list, but what about emotional tips for first time campers and parents of first time campers? Here are some tips to ensure a successful summer experience – both for your child and yourself.

“Be confident in your decision to send your child to camp. Camp will be a wonderful experience and you wouldn’t have made that decision if you didn’t believe your child was ready for it,” says Eve Eifler, co-owner of Tips on Trips and Camps.

Carey Rivers, co-owner of Tips on Trips and Camps, warns, “If you do experience fear or anxiety about sending your child off to camp, discuss it with your spouse or friends. Work hard not to convey these feelings to your child. Sensing that you are worried will only worry your child.

Avoid statements like ‘I’m going to miss you terribly.’ While it may be your attempt to reassure your child, you don’t want him or her to feel guilty about leaving you.”

Eifler says, “Let your child know you are confident they will adjust well to camp life. Refer to positive experiences when they’ve been away from home, either at a friends’ house, a stay with relatives or an overnight trip with the Girl or Boy Scouts. It’s okay to let your child know that he or she might experience some homesickness and that it is normal and natural.”

Rivers agrees, “If you attended camp yourself, heighten your child’s interest in camp by pointing out some of the exciting things you remember about your camping experiences. Be sure to be positive about how you were able to handle being away from your parents.”

Arrange times when your child can “practice” being away from home prior to camp, even if it’s just a sleepover at a friend’s house.

Open communication with the camp director is key. Eifler says, “Let them (the director) know if your child may be predisposed to homesickness, due to circumstances at home like a pending divorce or a serious illness in the family. Sharing this information up front prepares the camp to take a little extra care should your child need it.”

Ask how you can find out if your child is having a good time. Rivers says, “Each camp is different. Many camps post photos of children enjoying themselves at camp on their website to reassure parents that their children are indeed participating and having fun. Others may arrange to call the parents of a first time camper, particularly if you have specific concerns.”

Eifler thinks it is important to pack a security item from home. She says, “If your child is still attached to their ‘blankie’ or a certain stuffed animal but may be at the age that they’re hesitant to take it with them to camp, pack it in the zipper of their pillowcase. That way, they can have the security of having it with them without going public.”

Find out how parents and children keep in touch at your child’s camp. Camps’ policies about emails, letters and phone calls may vary. Rivers says, “Review these policies with your child in advance, so they know what to expect once they get there. Give your child pre-addressed, stamped envelopes or postcards. Let them purchase stationery they’d like to use to write to you.

And, lastly, send a letter in the mail before your child arrives at camp so that your message will be there waiting for him or her at the start of camp.”

Tips on Trips consultants have been advising parents for the last 43 years. They have U.S. regional offices in Maryland, Washington, D.C., New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, California, and abroad in France and Barcelona. Parents can receive expert advice by telephone, email or in person.

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Carey Rivers
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