Preparing Your Child for Summer Camp

By Brian Brandt

homesick-boy-at-campHomesickness at camp does happen, but it’s rarer than you might think.  If you’ve already taken care of involving your child in the process and selecting the right summer camp, a few more tips and you’re on your way.

In the months before camp, make sure your child spends the night away with a friend or grandparent.  This is extremely important if they’ve never been away overnight before and a good refresher if it’s been a while.  It was discovered that seven year old Katie wasn’t quite ready for the overnight experience her older brother was having.  So, a couple of years of day camp paved the way to a successful overnight experience.

When possible, visit the camp in advance or meet the staff if they are promoting in your area.  It’s very comforting for a child to know even one person where they’re headed.  Staffs are typically great about recognizing concerns and being a friendly face for a new camper. Separation from family is a challenging developmental task that must be experienced. Depending on the child’s age, you may also want to pack a few comforting items such as a family photo or special memento.

The true hurdle is making sure that the camp your child attends is aware of this important milestone, willing to nurture your child through it.  The camp experience can be the springboard into successfully moving on to the next stage of life that every child needs.

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Brian Brandt has 15 years of experience in senior leadership positions with two of the largest camps in the world.  He now consults, trains and coaches with senior leaders of camps, non-profits, and corporations on effectiveness, strategic thinking and leadership. Additionally, he often speaks and writes on a variety of topics including: parenting, leadership, mentoring, behavioral styles (DiSC), team building, effective communications, media relations, marketing, and bringing a vision to fruition. To contact Brian, go to