Summer vacation is just around the corner and kids are counting the days until the fun of summer camp begins. It’s normal for children to be apprehensive about sleeping overnight at camp.
Here are a few tips to help your child have an enjoyable first overnight camp experience.
Prior to registering for camp:
- Some kids enjoy sharing their first overnight camp experience with a friend. Having a friend at camp takes away extra pressure to make new friends, especially if your child has a shy personality.
- Let your child practice being away from home by scheduling an overnight sleepover at a friend’s house.
A few days before camp:
- Start sending letters, emails, or care packages ahead of time, so that your child has new mail to open the first few nights of camp.
- Involve your child in packing their suitcase so they can include a favorite stuffed animal or blanket.
- Hide a special family picture or notes of encouragement in your child’s suitcase.
The first day of camp:
- If your child has worries or nighttime fears, may sure that the camp counselor is aware. Counselors are trained to help children cope with being homesick or scared.
- Show your own excitement about camp (even if you’re having some worries of your own). Your upbeat attitude about a new overnight experience can be contagious.
What do you think? Post a comment below and let us know if you have any additional tips to help children enjoy their first overnight camp experience.
– Megan Grekowicz, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, pediatric nurse practitioner, Sleep Center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
The Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is the only sleep center in the state dedicated solely to the care of children and teens. The center has two locations (Milwaukee and New Berlin) both accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and staffed by four board-certified pediatric sleep specialists.