Whether your school offers some kind of outdoor education week where all the kids in a class go to a nearby camp for a few days, or you are the type of parent that likes to send kids to summer camp every year; eventually you’ll need to think about how you can best prepare the tots in your household for sleeping, somewhere other than in the familiar comforts of their bedroom at home.
Even if it’s only for a few days, kids can get understandably anxious when their routines are disrupted, and they find themselves out of their element. As a parent, you must remove as much stress from the situation as possible. But how do you make that happen? Here are a few tips to prepare your child for his time at sleep-away camp.
How to Prepare Your Child for Sleep-Away Camp:
One issue that many parents deal with is separation anxiety. While most kids overcome the desire to stay home with a parent at a young age thanks to inclusion in daycare or school, your child may not be entirely comfortable with the prospect of being away from home overnight, much less for several days.
The best way, then, to prepare your child for this eventuality is by making sure he participates in sleepovers with friends leading up to sleep-away camp. When he stays with a friend close to home, there is an inherent safety net – you can always pick him up if he gets too anxious. This will help him to ease into the prospect of being away from home. And then you can explain that sleep-away camp is just like any other sleepover and that he’ll have just as much fun.
Once you have overcome potential emotional aversions to sleep-away camp, you’ll need to prepare your child in other ways, which is to say, you need to outfit him accordingly for the event.
Since most camps operate during the warmer months, you’ll want to pack loose, comfortable clothing that is appropriate for the weather and the activities your child will be participating in (hiking, swimming, and so on).
You’ll also want to provide items like sunblock, bug spray, and any medications your child might need to be administered, along with typed instructions for teachers, camp counselors, or whoever is in charge. Often, you’ll receive a list of essential items each child will need. And don’t forget to pack a few cold-weather items (pants, hoodies, and a rain poncho) just in case.
Finally, make sure your child has a means of contacting you. The camp may or may not allow cell phones, or there may not be cellular service. So you shouldn’t rely on that. But they will, of course, have a landline, so provide your child with relevant phone numbers just in case he needs to reach you. Or think about going old-school with a stationary set and stamped envelopes or a stack of postcards for your child to send to you and other family members and friends, detailing his experience.
Any camp for kids is sure to have plenty of activities to keep your child occupied, so once he arrives he’ll surely get over any anxiety and have fun. So when you decide to make the leap from a day camp to a sleep-away camp, don’t fret. It won’t take long for your child to immerse himself in the camp experience.