tips for first-time campers: a helpful guide for parents and kids

Summer camp is an exciting opportunity for children to learn new skills, make friends, and create lasting memories. However, attending camp for the first time can also be a bit daunting for both kids and parents. Whether your child is attending day camp or sleepaway camp, they can have some common fears. To help make things smoother and to prepare for a successful camp experience, we’ve put together this resource with advice on topics like homesickness, making friends, and adapting to a new routine.

  1. Discuss Camp Expectations – Before camp starts, sit down with your child and discuss their expectations. Talk about the activities they’re most excited about and any concerns they may have. This conversation will help your child feel more prepared and confident about the upcoming adventure.
  2. Practice Independence – One of the main goals of summer camp is to foster a sense of independence in children. To help prepare your child for this, encourage them to take on age-appropriate tasks at home, such as making their bed, packing their lunch, or choosing their clothes. This will help build their self-reliance and help make the transition to camp life smoother.
  3. Address Homesickness – Homesickness is a common issue for first-time campers. To help combat this, involve your child in the packing process and encourage them to bring a few comforting items, such as a favorite toy, or if appropriate, a stuffed animal or family photo. Also, reassure them that it’s normal to miss home.
  4. Encourage Friend-Making – A big part of the camp experience is making new friends. To help your child feel more comfortable in this area, practice some basic social skills, such as introducing themselves and asking others about their interests. Remind your child that everyone at camp is there to have fun and make friends, so they shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to others.
  5. Discuss Camp Rules and Routines – Familiarize your child with the camp’s rules and routines before they arrive. This may include meal times, activity schedules, and bedtime routines (if it’s a sleepaway camp). By knowing what to expect, your child will feel more at ease and be better equipped to adapt to their new environment.
  6. Stay Positive and Supportive – As a parent, it’s crucial to maintain a positive attitude and support your child throughout the camp experience. Encourage them to embrace the opportunity and try new things, and remind them that it’s okay to feel nervous or uncertain at times. Your positivity and encouragement will go a long way in helping your child have a successful and enjoyable first-time camp experience.

Following these tips and guiding your first-time camper will help them feel more prepared and confident as they embark on their summer adventure. With your support and the excitement of new experiences, your child will likely return home with fond memories, new skills, and lasting friendships.