Happy Campers Planning Ahead for a Better Camping Experience

You may have already made the decision to send your child to a summer camp, but be sure to do a reality check before the event is underway. Did you decide to send your child to camp because he or she really WANTED to go? Or did you make your decision based on what your friends or neighbors are doing, or on what your relatives suggested?

Be sure you visit the camp to make sure the camping experience will be a good one. It is in your child’s best interest to make sure the camp is safe and that your child will be in the hands of trustworthy, caring adults.

Children under age 8 often get very homesick in camps that last a week or more, unless a family member or parent is there, too. Young children do better if they have been exposed to day camping first, especially if they go to day camp with friends.

Preadolescent children who go to special camps that fit their hobbies or interests (basketball, gymnastics or horse camps) usually enjoy the experience, but they tend to feel more comfortable at this awkward age if a sibling or a friend from home goes along.

Tips for staying in touch:
Be sure your child and the camp have your work and home phone numbers and can reach you or a trusted friend or relative at any time.

Send a packet of self-addressed, stamped postcards along with your child, and ask him or her to drop you a line each day.

Have your child pack a blank book for recording daily thoughts and events that you can enjoy and talk about later.

Tuck love notes, positive messages and photos of you or the family pets in among the underwear you pack so your child will find these surprises throughout the week.