Preparing Your Preschooler for Summer Camp

By in Parenting on 22 May 2010

We all want our kids’ first summer camp experience to be a great one. Fortunately, parents can take a few easy steps to make it happen.

  • Choose camps that will be interesting to your child.  Some parents use camps to try to expand their child’s horizons.  That is fine, but not for your child’s first camp experience. Find a camp with activities your child loves. Engage older preschoolers and kids entering kindergarten in the process of selecting a camp.
  • Choose camps that fit your child’s personality. If your child is very active, you might not want them in a project based camp. If your child has trouble with transitions, find a camp where they stay with the same instructor and same group of kids all days. If your child is very shy and tentative, look at camps with small camper group sizes (this is different from the student-teacher ratio).
  • Do your homework on the camp. Call the camp director or office staff and ask them about the camp. (For suggestions on questions, visit our summer camp blog).  If your child does have separation anxiety or troubles adjusting, you’ll feel much better if you are confident that your child is in good hands.
  • Talk to your child about camp. Start talking to your child at least a week before camp starts, and talk them through the full camp experience, and what to expect each day. Mommy will drop them off at 9:00 and pick them up at 3:00. They’ll play, then get a snack, do story time then lunch. After lunch, they’ll have a rest, then play time, and then mommy will pick them up.  It is important to be as detailed and specific as possible.
  • Visit the camp if possible. This is especially important if your child has trouble with transitions or is tentative.  Visit the location, walk them through the experience, and if possible, show them the classroom and introduce her to the teacher. This will make the first day far less scary.
  • Keep positive! Remember if you’re nervous or tentative, your child will pick up on it. So stay upbeat and let your kid know what a fabulous experience camp is.

Learn more at Sign Up For Camp, a website that makes summer planning easier. Visit our site for more tips on selecting a camp and to search for camps by age, date, activities and more. 

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