What does a summer camp experience offer kids?
- Summer camp can provide a chance for your child to unplug from the digital world they usually inhabit. (Article is a Word document.)
- Camp can be a great place to develop emotional intelligence—meaning self-awareness, self-control, empathy, the ability to wait (delayed gratification), the ability to listen, cooperate, share, and work well with others. (Article is a Word document.)
- Summer camp can enhance social development, including social skills and resiliency.
- Camps can foster self-reliance. (Article is a Word document.)
What are some factors to consider when choosing a summer camp?
- In their policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends thinking about your child's interests, skills, physical condition, and mental and emotional state. These factors can help you decide what kind of camp setting would be the best fit for your child.
- Advice on choosing a camp from the Michigan Department of Human Services.
- How to choose a camp—what to think about when deciding.
How do I prepare my child for summer camp?
- Tips for parents: Prepare your child for camp
- Preparing children for the summer camp experience
- Prepare your child...and yourself for camp
What about homesickness and separation anxiety?
- New thinking needed on helping kids avoid or cope with homesickness. A recent clinical report from the AAP gives children’s doctors and parents specific guidance for helping kids deal with separations and homesickness. This press release highlights tips for parents and includes links to helpful resources.
- Read the full AAP clinical report for a thorough discussion of preventing and treating homesickness, including useful tips for parents.
- Sleepovers and Sleep-away Camp: Helping Children with Separation Anxiety (also in Spanish, Chinese and Korean)
- Opening Day Blues
- For kids: Homesickness (also in Spanish)
- For teens: Homesickness
What are some resources for kids and teens?
- For kids: Going away to camp
- For kids: Camping and Woods Safety
- For preteens: Summer camp—Get ready, get packed.
- For teens: Camping Basics
Are there any good books on kids and summer camp?
The Summer Camp Handbook: Everything You Need to Find, Choose and Get Ready for Overnight Camp—and Skip the Homesickness, by Christopher Thurber and Jon Malinowski.
The authors are psychologists and former campers/camp counselors. The book guides parents’ in choosing the right camp for their child, preparing for it, preventing homesickness, and helping their child get the most out of the experience, and even has a special section for kids.
What about kids with special needs?
- YourChild: Children with Chronic Conditions offers many summer camp resources (see the section on “strategies for coping”, then go down to the bulleted section on supporting friendships and activities with peers).
- The Federation for Children with Special Needs' Summer Fun Camp Guide is packed with camps and resources. (View sample pages from Summer Fun 2009) The Summer Fun Camp Guide is available as a downloadable pdf or a softcover book.
- Summer Camps for Children with Disabilities—from NICHCY, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.
- Sleep-Away Camps for Children on Medication
Where can I find more resources?
- YourChild: Summer Safety
- YourChild: Parenting over Summer Break
- The AAP policy statement on Creating Healthy Camp Experiences.
Compiled by Kyla Boyse, RN. Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan.
Updated June 2011
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