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Summer camp: gauging your child’s readiness

Sending your child to camp is a valuable investment, but one that should be made when the time is right. It may be difficult to gauge if your child is ready and, if so, when and where to send them? The American Camp Association recommends answering these questions to help ease the process:

How old is your child? Children under age 7 may not adjust easily to being away from home. Consider a day camp experience to prepare them for an overnight camp in the future.

How did your child become interested in camp? How often does your child talk about camp and camp activities? How much persuasion is necessary from you?

Has your child had positive overnight experiences away from home? How has your child responded to overnight or extended visits with relatives or friends? Were these separations easy or difficult?

What does your child expect to do at camp? Learn about the camp experience ahead of time with your child and help create positive expectations. Highlight things you think they may enjoy; explain things that may be unfamiliar.

Are you able to share consistent and positive messages about camp? Your confidence in a positive experience will be contagious. If you are excited, your child will be in return.

Mull over these questions with your child. Are they ready? If so, next consider what kind of camp is best for your child. The American Camping Association recommends considering these aspects to narrow down your options: Near or far? Short or long session? Girls only, boys only or co-ed? Traditional, specialty or special needs?

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