Your attitude towards the camping experience is equally as important as what your child will experience while they ar at camp. Be sure you are ready to have the child leave home, that you trust him/her to be on his/her own, that tell them they are going to have a really great time! Be positive for your child for their camping experience.
First, think through these questions:
- Are you and your child prepared to have them leave home?
- Does he/she want to go to camp?
If the answers are yes, then here are some suggestions for preparing your child for going to camp.
First, are you and your child prepared to have them leave home?
Talk about camping as a happy adventure — be positive at all times. Do not discuss “homesickness”, and caution well meaning friends and relatives to avoid the subject. While homesickness can be a very real thing, you might actually be planting a thought that may never otherwise occur to the child. If your child does get homesick at camp, do not aggravate the situation with apprehensive letters or phone calls but let it be worked out with the understanding of the counselors and the camp director.
The Health Questionnaire
Health knowledge is a very important factor in successful camping. Be sure that your child is well and attend to potential problems, before sending your child to camp. Be honest in your comments about your child’s health. Remember that you and the camp directors are equally interested in your child’s welfare, and both are working together to see that the summer is pleasant, enjoyable, and profitable.
If your child has been exposed to any contagious diseases just prior to arrival, be sure you discuss this with the camp director before bringing the child to camp. It is unfair to expose all the other campers to a communicable disease. Their entire summer might needlessly be spoiled. Perhaps your child may be a “picky” eater, have a” nervous” stomach, or be a “bed wetter”. Whatever it may be, make a note of it on the medical form. None of these things are problems, when directors know about them.
The Day Before and On The Way
You can do much to prepare your child for the new and uncertain, yet highly rewarding experience that will be encountered at camp through friendly chats about things that might seem different. You will think of many things to talk about. Here are a few to start off with:
- Darkness: You might mention the difference between the bright lights in the city at night and the quiet beauty of the star-studded evenings in the country. Sitting around the camp fire at night will seem exciting and different to youngsters.
- Noises: Normal city noises of sirens, buses, horns, airplanes, will be exchanged for the sounds of small animals, the chirping of crickets, owls hooting, etc.
- Space: Undeveloped land is becoming a thing of the past. At camp however, children have acres and acres for playing and hiking. It may be a child’s first encounter with this sort of environment, and it may seem very large in comparison to what they are used to. We adults have a tendency to forget that things we long ago accepted will still be adjustments for children.
- Children: Mention that there are different kinds of children and that it will require “give and take” to get along, to make friends and to get the most out of living at camp.
- Religion: People have different religious customs, but each has a right to believe in his/her own way.
- Security: That security lies within a person, that camping is not personality, athletic or endurance contests, but that it is a place which encourages self- confidence in people for what they are, as individuals, not for comparisons.