A day camp experience is beneficial to children for so many reasons—it teaches children independence, helps develop self-esteem, and gives children a greater understanding of the world around them. Parents want their children to experience this important rite of childhood however, parents of first-time campers may be unsure of how to prepare for this exciting adventure.
The American Camp Association, NY and NJ suggests keeping the following in mind as parents begin to prepare their children, and themselves, for day camp:
Focus on education
Camp provides an opportunity for children to explore a much larger world. It also offers parents and children a chance to practice normal, healthy separation, which allows children to develop autonomy and a stronger sense of self, make new friends, develop new social skills, learn about teamwork, and so much more.
Share the prep work
Camp decisions should be made together. When children feel that they are part of the decision-making process, they are more comfortable. Search camps online together and take a tour of the camp with your child. The more involved children are in the process of choosing a camp, the more ownership they feel.
Talk, talk, talk
It’s only natural that as the first day of camp approaches, some children may experience uneasiness about going. Encourage your child to talk about these feelings. Parents should let their child know that they are confident in the child's ability to handle being away from home.
It's important for children and parents to maintain realistic expectations. Camp is a microcosm of the real world, so just like life, there will be highs and lows. Parents should encourage realistic views of what camp will be like. Remind children that the most important thing is to relax and have fun at camp.
Parents searching for a day or resident camp can visit the American Camp Association, New York, and New Jersey's camp database website www.campwizard.org. For more information, please visit the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey's website www.aca-ny.org.
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