How to know if your child is ready for overnight camp

ready for campIs your child ready for overnight camp? That's a question many parents are wondering around this time of year. Here are some tips from the American Camp Association and some input from our Facebook followers on what age is best to start sending kids to sleep-away camp.

The American Camp Association suggests asking yourself these questions to help determine if your child is ready for camp.

• What is your child's age? Children under age 7 may not adjust easily to being away from home. Consider the day camp experience to prepare them for future overnight camp.

• How did your child become interested in camp? Does your child talk about camp and camp activities on a sustained basis? How much persuasion is necessary from you?

• Has your child had positive overnight experiences away from home? Visiting relatives or friends? Were these separations easy or difficult?

• What does your child expect to do at camp? Learning about the camp experience ahead of time allows you to create positive expectations.

• Are you able to share consistent and positive messages about camp? Your confidence in a positive experience will be contagious.

Click Next below to find out what age parents think is best for camp.


What parents think is best age for camp

We asked our Facebook followers what they felt was the best age to start sending kids to sleep-away camp and this is what they said:

Dawn Maltese and Lorraine Richards Moore agreed age 10 was the best age while Mimi Shea, of Severna Park, felt comfortable with age 7.

"I think it depends on the kid and the camp," said Candy Marcum. "My son went for the first time at 7 and did great but having worked as a counselor, I also have seen many older kids not do so well their first time, especially if they have never been away from home."

Cortney Czaplicke Gardner, of Odenton, said it totally depends on the kid. "My daughter did a week at age 9 and can't wait to go back this summer," she said. "My son did two nights at age 9 and cried himself to sleep both nights. Now, at age 11, he's trying a week this summer, though he's not completely sold on the idea."

Heather Grant of Trappe said her twins went for a week when just shy of 11 years old. "One wanted to stay another week another had had enough," she said. "They are both going back this year for two weeks."

If you've decided that now is a good time to send your child away to summer camp, check out our story on tips for selecting the perfect camp for your kid. And don't forget to check out our overnight summer camp directory for ideas of where to look. And to help out even more come to the Chesapeake Family Camp Fair!