Preparing Your Child for Summer Camp

Good planning and calm reassurance will make the camp experience a great one.

By FamilyTime


Getting ready for summer camp requires organization and attention. First-time campers need reassurance that camp will be fun; even seasoned campers may be apprehensive about leaving home.

Assure your child that camp is meant to be enjoyable and relaxing.

Preparing a First-Time Camp Experience
If possible visit the camp. Most camps will send videos or brochures with photographs. Try to find another camper whom your child can meet beforehand or talk with on the telephone or on-line.

Encourage your child to go to camp with a friend or relative. Let your child take a favorite stuffed animal or pillow to camp.

Make a small photo album with pictures of the family and favorite pets. Young children especially enjoy sharing these pictures with other campers and counselors.

A few days before your son or daughter leaves for camp, send him or her a postcard or letter that will be there upon arrival. Keep the tone light and encouraging. Go to FamilyTime Calendar .

Packing for Camp
Most camps send lists of required and recommended items. Follow the list closely, particularly if this is your child's first time at the camp.

Don't send new or "good" sheets, blankets or towels. Include a laundry bag and raingear. Don't send the camper off with new shoes--a sure prescription for blisters.

Make sure your child has plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent (and instructions to use both!). Mark everything with an indelible marker or with name tags.

Don't forget extras, such as addressed and stamped postcards and envelopes, extra stationery and stamps, all packed in a waterproof bag. Go to FamilyTime Address Book . Remember a camera and film (waterproof disposable cameras are good investments), books, magazines, a journal, and, if the camp permits, a small disc player or tape player with CDs and tapes.

Send your child letters and small packages. Most camps discourage gifts of food or candy. Some camps let you fax or email letters.

Don't expect a steady stream of letters in return. In this case, no news is good news! For more on camps, visit