Hey, Camp Preppers!
One of the key decisions you and your camper will have to make about camp is determining what the length of the camp stay should be. This part of your summer camp preparation is extremely important. When a camp stay gets to be too long for a child, homesickness is the inevitable response.
So how do you know what the right length of time is for your camper’s camp stay? The age of your camper is always a good place to start. Most overnight camps won’t take campers unless they’re at least seven or eight years old.
Typically, the younger the child is, the shorter the camp stay should be. However, this isn’t always the case as every kid is different. Some seven-year-olds could go all summer away from home while some preteens may struggle with a two-week stay.
Another thing to take into account besides age is your camper’s experience in being away from home and how they seem to handle it. You can gauge this with sleepovers your kid has at a friend’s house or a weekend stay with a relative. Try talking to your kid after stays like these about any feelings of homesickness that they had and let them know that it’s normal to miss being away from home.
It’s always helpful to children when you can give them a concrete idea of how long their camp stay actually is. Letting them know that a week-long camp stay would be like the family trip that you took last year to visit Uncle Max is an excellent tactic to help your kid prepare for their time away.
Involving your camper in the decision about the length of their camp stay is also a smart way to decrease their feelings of homesickness during the time away. It’s imperative that a kid WANTS to stay the full length of their camp stay. If they feel forced to stay longer than what they are comfortable with, you are risking intense homesickness for your child.
When it comes down to it (especially when given a more ‘concrete’ idea of how long a certain period of time is) talking to your kid openly about it is the best route to take. Kids are usually pretty good at knowing how much time away they can take.
As always, thanks for reading.