When and why should I send my child to a kids camp for the summer holidays?

When and why should I send my child to a kids camp for the summer holidays? There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to shipping your little one off to a kids camp for the first time. Depending on the physical and mental development of your child and the degree of social skills possessed, even very young children can benefit from certain day camps.

Most experts agree that a child must have a stable environment at home before he or she is sent to camp, as well as having a certain degree of independence. Growing up with siblings will probably help a child socialize earlier, and learn to interact with other kids in a proper manner. Kids of working parents also tend to spend more time on their own, under other people’s care, which can also speed up the time they are ready to go to camp. It can be hard for parents to decide when and why they should send "my child" to a kids camp for the summer holidays.


Creche as Introduction to Camp

As a general rule of thumb, if the child is not potty-trained, camp may not be appropriate! Aside from that there are a few other factors to consider. For very young children (3 to 6 years old) a creche is sort of an introduction to day camp. Some even have themes, like vegetarian or bio lunches, dancing, or even ‘kids in nature’. If your child is very attached to you, you may want to start with a day camp offering specific activities, like football or horse back riding or attend a kids cooking workshop with your child. Day camps can give an opportunity for a young one to be independent for a day and to realize that you will return to pick them up at the end of the day!


Day Camp

Day camps often have emphasis on a specific talent, interest or skill. When your child is focused on learning a new discipline, he or she will be less likely to miss home or wonder why they got ‘sent away’ in the first place. At the very least, a young child should be having fun trying new things. As children get older, going to camp should be seen as a reward and an opportunity to learn and make new friends, not as a punishment!

After attending a few day camps, your kid may be ready to go away for a few nights. You can also start introducing sleep-overs at friend’s houses, and ‘one night’ camps, before signing up for a full 2 week summer camp.


Proper Camp

There is a variety of types of camps, designed for different age levels and interests. It is not unusual to find camps welcoming kids at the age of 5. Even though some children may be ready to attend an overnight camp at that age, it often happens that their parents are not ready for this step! Most often, kids start their camping careers at around 8-9, but it is such an individual choice, and must not be forced.


Camp Care and Preparation

You want to make sure that your little one can care for themselves, choose their own clothing, brush their teeth and comb their hair. Even though kids receive help from their caretakers at camp, you will feel better knowing that your child doesn’t have to depend on anyone else’s help. Make sure that you make the camp organizers aware of any sorts of allergies or fears your child suffers from.


Remember that you as a parent are responsible for finding out what your child needs to bring to camp. There is nothing more heart-breaking than listen to your little girl cry on the phone, blaming you for not packing a dress for the camp disco night, when all her new girlfriends have tons of outfits to choose from...


How old was your child when you sent him or her for the very first time? Was it too early, or just perfect timing?