Before enrolling your child in any camp or out-of-home activity, discuss it with them. Allowing your child an input in decision-making is a good idea; if he flatly refuses to go to camp, don't push him. You might also give him an option, such as day camp vs sleep-away camp.
Ultimately, you will have to make the call on whether or not to send your child to camp. If you decide that going to camp is right for your family, then prepare your child for his/her new experience by discussing what they will do at camp and how it may differ from home.
Also discuss with your child why you think it is important for them to attend camp. This will help them understand your reasons for sending them away every week-end. Not all children are comfortable with this type of separation so be sure to talk with them about their feelings on the subject.
If your child is old enough to make their own decisions, let them know that you are happy for them if they choose to go to camp but if they decide not to, there won't be any repercussions. There will be other opportunities later in life for them to experience what it means to be part of a group of people who care about them enough to allow them to grow up in a safe environment.
Finally, remember that camp is just another opportunity for your child to learn something new.
Let's go to a summer camp!
Involve him in the selection of a summer camp; acquaint him with the camp surroundings; and inform him about camp activities so he may develop expectations. 2 Get your child enthusiastic about camp by taking her shopping for new gear and focusing on enjoyable aspects about camp that she can look forward to. 3 Make sure your child has everything necessary for camp, including appropriate clothes and shoes.
Camp is a valuable experience that should be encouraged in children. Help them understand what benefits they will get from camp and how it will help them in their future lives. 4 Set realistic goals for yourself and your child. If you want him to have a good time at camp, don't focus on achieving milestones such as making straight A's or finishing first in his age group. 5 Remember, kids are smart. If they see you aren't excited about camp, they won't be either. But if you treat it like a special opportunity and make it fun for them, they'll remember that feeling forever.
The more involved you are in the process of selecting a camp, discussing advantages and disadvantages of different programs, and choosing activities you and your child will enjoy, the better off you will be.
Dr. Christopher Thurber, a camp specialist, lover, and author of "The Summer Camp Handbook," discovered that less than 1% of all children in overnight camps need to be taken up early. Of course, it is possible to be homesick without feeling the urge to return home. Being away from home for a long time can cause feelings of loneliness and missing those left behind, but that's about it. It's normal for kids to feel some level of homesickness during the first few days at camp.
If your child complains about being homesick, tell them that feeling homesick is normal but that you are there for them if they want to talk about it. Suggest activities such as making new friends, going on adventures together, or simply sitting around the fire at night telling stories.
Children can also be homesick for family reasons. If yours complains about not having their parents with them, tell them that while they are growing up they will learn to be strong enough to make their own way in the world but right now they need their parents to be there for them. Let them know that you love them and that you will see them when they return from camp.
Finally, children can be homesick for cultural reasons. If yours feels like leaving behind everything familiar and goes looking for things that are different, tell them that camping is like traveling and that everyone needs a break from time to time.