One of the common questions parents ask before sending their children to summer camp for the first time is; what is the best age to go to summer camp? The right age for your child to go camping depends on their maturity and willingness to be far from home.
For many children, their first overnight camp marks their first time away from the comfort of their homes. However, parents should not be anxious because camp organizers understand how to handle campers of different ages.
They offer excellent educational and fun activities to ensure children enjoy their stay. Are you considering sending your child to summer camp? This guideline should help you decide whether they are ready for the experience.
5 Years or Younger
Children between five years and below are too young to go camping alone. Organize a family camp together for the best experience.
Between 6 to 8 Years Old
Suppose your child is between this age and has shown interest in going camping; that is a sign that they are ready to have fun times with their peers away from home. If they seem hesitant, consider waiting until they are ready. Forcing camp upon your child is not the right approach because they might hate it.
If your child is willing to attend camp, consider various factors before sending them away. Ask yourself; is my child independent? Can they take care of their grooming with minimal assistance? Are they clingy?
Have they attended day events in your absence before? If they did, how did they perform? If your child can comfortably attend an event without you by their side, then they are ready for short stay summer camps.
Often, parents worry whether children in this age group will be comfortable during camp. Are there supervisors to ensure the child eats well, brushes their teeth, and takes a shower? What will happen if they wet their bed? These are some of the questions that parents struggle with. If your child is going to an accredited camping facility, you can rest assured that the staff has sufficient qualifications to take great care of young campers. Camp counselors and supervisors ensure your child is comfortable at the facility. All you need to do is communicate the child’s needs, and the staff will handle everything else.
Between 9 to 10 Years Old
Whether your child attends camp or not in this age group depends on you and the child.
If your child can’t wait to enjoy the summer camping experience, register them for the following summer camp event.
If they show little to no interest in summer camp, you could:
- Attend fun activities and events with close family and friends whose children attend camp. Such meet-ups will expose your child to the camping idea. When your child listens to their peers discuss camping and how much they love it, they will become curious enough to want to attend summer camp.
- Watch summer camp videos with your child to show them all the fun activities their peers enjoy. When your child finally warms up to the camping idea, prepare them for the next camping exercise.
If they show little interest, you can either:
Talk to them candidly and let them know that feeling anxious is normal. Assure the child they will love the experience and help them understand why attending summer camp is crucial.
Discuss the benefits of attending summer camp with your child and demonstrate your confidence in their ability to conquer their fears.
Register your young camper to a summer camp facility that offers their favorite activities. Involve them in the planning process to increase their chances of enjoying the whole camping experience.
If you have tried every method but your child can’t seem to warm up to the camping idea, consider waiting for one more year. However, keep talking to them about the importance of attending summer camp.
Let them understand they can attend summer camp when they feel ready. Remember, sometimes you may need to be stricter for kids to show interest in camping. Consider bringing them along during family events or camping activities to prepare them for the main event.
Remember, if your child is hesitant about camping at this age group, they could still be anxious in the future. If your child is still clingy, consider figuring out strategies to ease those feelings. Sending them to summer camp is one of the easiest ways. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to help your child deal with feeling homesick and lonely.
Your child has probably been to more than one overnight summer camp event at this age. If they haven’t, consider signing them up for sleep-away camp. Eleven years is the ideal age to let the young campers have an independent and exciting camping experience.
12 Years and Above
Is your child twelve years old and yet to attend summer camp? If you think your child is too young to be away from you, you may want to reconsider your decision. At this age, the chances are high that the child wants to go camping with their peers, but you are unwilling to let them go.
Enroll your pre-teen in the next available summer camp event. They will enjoy having some independent time at last, but they will also meet other campers their age attending camo for the first time. Kids adapt to new environments quickly. They will interact with their peers easily and even make friends.
There are numerous activities to keep campers busy, leaving them with little to no time to feel lonely. As a parent, you shouldn’t worry about your child struggling to cope. Be confident that they will be okay.
Some parents wait until their children are 13 years to start preparing them for camp, only to be disappointed when the kids show less interest. Convincing older children to attend summer camp is more challenging than their younger counterparts.
Kids will gain numerous benefits from summer camp. Besides learning how to be independent, being away from home teaches children essential skills they need to succeed as young adults. Have you struggled to figure out when to send your child to summer camp? This guide should help you make an informed decision.