Preparing Your Child For A First Overnight Summer Camp Experience

Overnight summer camps offer a great opportunity for your child to gain independence and experience new things. If you are considering sending your child to a co-ed summer camp in New England for the first time, there are a few things you can do to prepare him or her for this adventure. Here are just a few things to consider to help your child overcome being homesick.

Pack Comforting Items From Home

Your child may be homesick during this first overnight camping experience, so consider packing a few items from home that can provide comfort. This might include a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, or it might mean sending a few favorite bedtime books. Tell your child to reach for one of these items whenever he or she is feeling homesick, and let your little one know that you will miss him or her too.

Create A Photo Album

Sometimes, seeing the faces of family members can be enough to provide comfort during the time your child is away. Visit your local craft store and purchase a small scrapbook. Fill it with pictures of your family, and add a few scrapbook accessories to customize the album. You might include pictures of your child with your family pets or playing with siblings. Be sure to add a note in the book telling your child how much love you have for him or her, and remind your child to read it if he or she begins to feel blue.

Write Often

Getting letters from home can be a big deal at summer camp, so write as often as you can. Visit your local gift shop or pharmacy and purchase a stack of greeting cards so you can send one every day. These cards might have funny jokes in them to bring a smile to your child's face, or they may have notes of love inside. If your child's summer camp allows care packages, think about sending one package every week in addition to the cards and letters. Pack kid-friendly magazines and snacks, along with any other small trinkets your child might enjoy receiving in the mail.

Fund A Canteen Account

Some summer camps offer canteen services to campers, which gives the the opportunity to purchase snacks, camp t-shirts, and other fun goodies. Be sure to fund the account when your child arrives at camp, and ask how you can add more funds to the account if it runs low. Giving your child access to all of the exciting things at the canteen can give him or her something to look forward to on days he or she is homesick.

Talk to the camp counselors about other things you can do to help your child. In some cases, you may be able to call your child over the phone to give him or her added comfort and reassurance.