What tips do you have for sending your child to their first sleep-away camp?
Mine is heading off to his first Boy Scout camp.
What a great question, I have been a regular camper for more years than I care to remember and have introduced my daughter and her friends to camping so hope you like my answer.
Firstly, ask if there is a recommended list of items to take.
2. It will only be natural for him to be nervous, so try to reassure him on the days before he goes.
3. Get one of his friends to come round to your house so they can chat about any concerns infront of you.
4. If you have a tent get dad to sleep with him in your garden, you don't want to find out on his first trip that he scared of the dark.
5. Ask at the scout group to speak to other scouts who have been camping before to ask what they take which isn't on the recommended list.
6.If the camp site isn't too far away have a drive there, familiarity will do wonders for his confidence.
7.Don't embarass him by making take a teddy or last Christmas's striped pj's
8. Give him some spending money.
9. Tell him he will have the time of his life
10. Be there to meet him when it's finished, he'll want a cuddle.
I'll make a hub around this question.
First, check out some great websites like the American Camp Association for very informative information on sending your child to camp. They have good tips for first-time-camper parents!
Second, as a camp director myself and parent of two camp-going kids, my questions back to you would be, is your son worried about camp, or are you worried about sending him? Does he have any friends who are going to camp at the same time? How long will he be gone?
Sometimes the answers to these questions will help drive your actions when it comes to sending him off. For example, if it's you who is worried, try not to relay this feeling to your son- he needs your enthusiasm and support as he heads off on this adventure. (Easier said than done, for some!)
Generally speaking, the more information you can get ahead of time about what a typical day will be like, what items to bring, how you can communicate with your child, how homesickness or discipline issues are handled, what the staff qualifications and supervision ratios are, what your child will be learning/doing, etc., the more comfortable you and your son will feel.
Attending any information sessions, meeting other kids who will be attending camp at the same time, and talking with parents whose kids have gone to camp in the past are also helpful.
I think your son is in for the experience of a lifetime! Camp is a wonderful place to make lifelong friends, learn many new things, become more independent and confident, and have a lot of fun!! Good luck!
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