6 Tips for Sending Your Kids to Camp for the First Time

Sending your kids to camp for the first time? We have 6 tips to keep your mind at ease and help your kids enjoy the magic that is summer camp.

Remember the days when the bus would pick you up, you had your bathing suit and favorite snacks packed, and you were on your way to do all sorts of activities while making inside jokes with your friends? Camp was the best! It was something we looked forward to every summer as kids but now as parents, it can feel scary, sad or even daunting to send your kids off, even if it’s just for a few days. It’s important to remember that you want your kids to have the same magical experiences that you did, so here are a few ways to help send your kids off to camp for the first time: 

1. Research your options

There are plenty of different options, so it’s important to find one that works best for your family and your kiddo. Consider the location, duration, and the activities offered to make sure it’s something your child will enjoy and feel comfortable at. For your child’s first time, you may want to consider a shorter duration, or a closer location to put everyone at ease.

2. Ask questions and relay information

Make sure you’re up to date on registration deadlines and fill out all required forms like medical information, emergency contacts, and waivers. If your child has any medical conditions or allergies, now is the time to make sure the camp is aware of that and has the proper accommodations your child might need. It is also a good idea to go over the safety measures at the camp and reinforce the importance of following camp rules and listening to camp staff and counselors to your kid.

3. Communicate with your child

While some kids will be beyond excited about camp and hop out of the car without looking back, don’t be surprised if your child is nervous about the idea of spending some time away from home. Reassure them that it’s totally normal to be a little scared, and that they will have so much fun exploring what their camp has to offer. If they seem to be getting more worked up than excited, maybe consider enrolling them in a day camp or delaying their camp experience by a year. Children should be encouraged to go a little outside their comfort zone, but not if it’s to the point that it’s causing distress. 

4. Pack

The camp will likely provide a general list of what your child will need while away. It never hurts to label their clothing and belongings to prevent any mixups and make sure everything makes it back home. Ensure they have what they need to participate in various activities and take into account any weather they might encounter. If you sense that you’d kiddo might get a bit homesick, see if there’s a photo or a stuffed animal that they can have with them for some comfort. Also, you can never pack too much sunscreen

5. Stay Connected

Find out what the camp’s communication policies are and how you can stay in touch with your child while they’re away. Whether it’s through letters, emails, or scheduled phone calls, knowing that there is a way to be in contact can help ease any separation anxiety for both you and your child. 

6. Head to camp!

Make the drop off journey fun by playing upbeat music and talking with your kid about what they’re most excited about. Reiterate when and how they’ll be able to communicate with you, and reassure them once again that they’ll have a great time and that you’ll eagerly be awaiting their return. Give them a big hug, say goodbye, and trust that they’re in good hands. This is just the beginning of a lifetime of camp memories!


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