10 Questions to Help Determine Whether You’re Ready to Send Your Child to Camp
Often parents will carefully consider whether their child is ready for camp but sometimes neglect to ponder whether the parent is ready for that first-time camp experience. (Sometimes well-meaning parents will also communicate that their child isn’t ready, but it might be the parent that’s not quite there…) Here are ten tips to contemplate whether you as a parent are ready to have your child leave you to enjoy their empowering camp experience.
- Can your child stay overnight at a friend’s house without you feeling sad or needing to speak to her/him?
- Have you talked with another parent who has experienced the same feelings when their child left for the first time?
- Have you prepared yourself for the separation? (Parents often are anxious about sending their child to camp for the first time. This is normal. Remember that you have chosen a safe camp for your child and s/he will be well looked after and enjoy a positive, growing experience.)
- Have you watched the camp DVD again, reinforcing yourself about why you chose the camp—reminding you of the growth, development and independence you want for your child?
- Have you talked with your child about the rich natural environment at camp and role modeled what to do when s/he encounters wildlife (insects, rabbits, deer…other critters of the rich natural environment) at camp?
- Are you prepared to entrust your child to the care of her/his camp counselors and confident the camp director is available for concerns (i.e. you don’t feel compelled to sneak an emergency cell phone into your child’s luggage so they can call you “just in case”)?
- Do you not break out in a sweat by the prospect of not speaking to your child for two weeks?
- Can you survive the way your child’s hair looks when s/he cares for it on her own?
- Are you okay going two weeks without having to pick up your child’s clothes or shoes left lying around?
- Are you ready to take time for yourself, having made a list of things you are going to accomplish while your child is off enjoying camp—things you have not gotten around to before now!)? (Just like your camper is trying new things and experiencing personal growth, you’re ready to do the same so you can be re-energized when s/he arrives home with great camp stories.)
If you have other tips/questions to offer, please share in the comments below!