Helping Your Child Cope at Camp

Following are some coping tips from the AmericanCamping Association to consider before your child leaves for camp:

  • If possible, visit the camp ahead of time sothat your child will be familiar with the cabins and othergeneral surroundings.
  • Consider arranging for a first-time camper toattend with a close friend, relative or camp”buddy.”
  • Do not tell your child that you will”rescue” him/her from camp if he/she doesn’t likeit.
  • Discuss what camp will be like well beforeyour child leaves, acknowledging feelings; considerrole-playing anticipated camp situations, such as using aflashlight to find the bathroom.
  • Send a letter to your child before campbegins so it will be there for his/her arrival.
  • Allow your child to pack a favorite stuffedanimal and/or picture so that your child will have a reminderof home.

If adjustment problems (like homesickness) dooccur while your child is at camp:

  • Talk candidly with the camp director toobtain his/her perception of your child’s adjustment.
  • Resist the temptation to “rescue”your son or daughter from this experience.
  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings andcommunicate your love. You might say, “If you still feelthis way in two days, we’ll discuss what we can do.”
  • Support your child’s efforts to work out theproblems with the help of the camp staff.
  • Remind him/her, if necessary, that he/she hasmade a commitment.

Trust your instincts: The occasional child whois truly not adjusting to camp life at all should be allowed toreturn home after a reasonable amount of time and effort.

For more information, visit the American CampingAssociation, online at


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