Being able to get outside, explore, and spend time with friends at summer camp can be an incredibly enriching experience for a child. It’s a secure environment for kids to learn about their world and explore new ideas. According to child development experts, summer camp gives children benefits including increased self-esteem, greater problem-solving skills, a sense of belonging, and an opportunity to discover and develop talents.
However, even if your child is excited for this new experience, it’s still a big adjustment. Here are some tips to help get your child ready for summer camp.
Have realistic conversations about what to expect
If your child is nervous about summer camp, you may be tempted to portray it as constant fun. While this may soothe your child’s fears, it might also inadvertently give them unrealistic expectations. It’s normal for a child to be nervous or scared about a new experience, and the best strategy is to have discussions about what to expect at camp. If your child knows what activities they’ll do and what they’ll learn, they’ll be better able to visualize the overall situation.
If your child is anxious about summer camp, acknowledge their feelings. Remind them that they can talk to an adult at summer camp if they’re feeling upset or confused, and that it’s normal to feel a bit scared before doing something new.
Make sure your child has the necessary clothing or equipment
Summer camp is all about activities such as outdoor exploration, field trips, and STEAM projects. It’s important to send your child to summer camp with the proper clothing and sun protection. Your summer camp should send along a list of everything your child needs to stay comfortable and protected at camp. Make sure you’re aware of any other clothing or equipment for certain summer camp activities, like a bathing suit or a sun hat.
Practice social skills
Your child may meet many new people during summer camp, and can find it scary if they’re unprepared. Review our article about helping your child make friends at preschool to help them build their social skills for summer camp. At My Place, our summer camp programs encourage social emotional learning skills, such as how to interact with others in a respectful way and encouraging organic engagement between students.