Is Your Child Ready for Camp? – 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

Summer camp offers children an exciting opportunity to try something new, and to grow from new experiences. Many children and teens are anxious about attending camp for the first time, being away from home, and taking part in activities that are new to them. Parents can be unsure about their child’s ability to cope in a new environment. How do parents know if there is ready to attend camp? Here are six questions that parents should ask to determine how ready their child is for camp:

  1. Does Your Child Have an Interest In Learning New Things? –  Camp offers many unique experiences and learning opportunities for children. Think about how open your child is to trying something he/she has never done before. If your child is hesitant about trying new experiences, consider something that is a simpler transition, like trying a day camp for a summer before you send your child off to resident camp. This allows your child to broaden his/her horizons without being overwhelmed.
  2. Do They Enjoy Being Around Other Children and Making Friends? – The making and keeping of friends is a skill nurtured at camp. It is important to consider how much experience your child has had making friends. If your child is shy, or takes longer to warm up in new situations, find a camp that provides the consistency of the same counselor and group of children your child will be with daily to facilitate the formation of long-lasting friendships.
  3. Is Your Child Beginning to Develop Independence? – Camp is certainly a great way to develop a child’s sense of independence. Children who are given some opportunities to be away from their parents for the day, clean up their rooms, dress themselves, and learn to be responsible for their own belongings will more easily adjust to being part of a camp community for the first time, be it day or resident camp!
  4. Can Your Child Listen and Follow Directions? – Consider how easily your child cooperates with his/her peers, teachers at school, and with family members at home. The ability to listen and follow directions will give your child a safer and more successful camp experience.
  5. Is Your Child Ready for a New Experience? – Attending camp for the first time can be an exciting, and new opportunity, different from many situations your child might be used to. Take some time to consider how your child handles new situations. Select a camp that has some activities that appeal to your child, and one with similar values to your families.  This will make it easier for your child to adjust to a new community!
  6. Does Your Child Enjoy Nature and the Outdoors? – Many camps take place in an outdoor environment. When considering an outdoor summer program, check to see how the camp introduces children to the wonders of nature, and how they help them to develop outdoor living skills to survive and thrive in the outdoors.

It is perfectly normal for both campers and parents to be worried about going to camp for the first time. Thousands of children attend camp for the first time each summer and have a positive experience. Camp gives children of all age’s opportunities to develop new life skills and have fun.

Need More Information? – Take our Survey
We created a survey with Bob Ditter, a clinical social worker and expert staff trainer, to assist parents in determining if their child is ready for camp. There are six different areas of readiness listed in the attached survey. Go to roughingit.com/ready to take the survey. If you are undecided about camp, use this survey as a way to help you determine your own child’s readiness, and utilize the results to find the right camp for your child. Good luck and have a great summer!