- Family and Parenting»
When to Send Your Kids To Sleepover Camp
So what is the right age to send your kids to camp? I think it varies for each child. I think what's more important is the role or view that the parents have. If they don't build the confidence in their children that it will be a great experience, chances are, it won’t be.
My children are 8 and 10 now. Respectively they have gone to sleepover camp for 5 and 7 years now. They each go for a week at a time. Generally they go during the same week. Not only does it make it a little more convenient, but my husband and I get to spend some much needed time together. EVERY married couple needs some alone time!! Don't feel guilty! It's much more important for the parents to be one cohesive unit and this helps you reconnect. Remember what it was like when you were dating?
Not only has it been good for us, it is good for the kids too for a lot of reasons. They learn to rely on themselves a little more. They learn to make new friends. They try new things that they wouldn't have tried if you asked them to or even if they knew you were watching. They learn a little more about responsibility, and they learn decision making skills in the safety of a controlled environment.
Every year the kids go away, and it seems in that time they mature a little bit more. It also gives us a fresh perspective on how much we appreciate the company of each other. It also seems to act almost like a reset button with bad behaviors. We fall into bad habits or routines during the year and camp helps us break out of those cycles and set new goals.
Our kids started camp when they were 4 going on 5. When I would ask their friends parents if their children wanted to go they would say “No!” It wasn’t because the kids weren’t ready it was because they had their own fears about their kids going away to camp.
Being homesick isn’t such a bad thing either. Kids learn to find other things to occupy their mind and keep busy as long as the parents don’t tell them that they will come get them if they want to go home. It somehow takes away their ability to problem solve on their own. If having homesick kids is a fear, check out some camps and look for ones that don’t have a lot of down time and they have later bed times so the kids will be exhausted, and ready for bed.
I always thought my kids would be scared with the thunder and lightning storms. A few weeks ago we had a real nasty one come through and my daughter says “I hate thunder and lightning storms here but I love them at camp.” It’s funny because as a kid, I felt the same exact way!
Try to find a camp where you trust the staff, try to find a friend to go with your child as a sort of buddy system to put away any fears you may have of abuse, have the talk with your kids about what to do when they see someone doing something wrong and who to tell, encourage them to try all sorts of new and fun activities, and above all, don’t let them see your fear. You and your family will be glad you did!