Going off to summer camp is somewhat of a right of passage in our country. The American Camp Association reports 11 million children attend camp each year. And the ages of campers range from six to 106. The thought of spending the night away from mom and dad may invoke some anxiety for your child and/or you, but it shouldn’t. Here are 12 signs your child is ready for an overnight at camp.

1. They’re Showing Interest

Sometimes it’s best to let your kids judge when the timing is right. If they start to show interest in camp or ask for permission to go, it’s a strong sign that they are ready to pack their bags and head off for a week of fun.

2. They’ve Slept Away from Home

Have they spent nights away from home at Grandma’s house, or other family members and close friends? Having spent a few nights away from home will prepare them for the week that they’re going to spend with new friends, at camp.

3. They Are Confident in New Situations

Whether it’s participating in a new music or art class, an activity like karate or archery, or simply strutting into new surroundings, your child can likely handle camp if he/she is confident in these scenarios.

4. They Have the Right Personality 

Some children thrive in social situations and make friends wherever they go. These children are likely to have a positive experience at camp, at a younger age. Other children have a more difficult time adapting and finding friends on their own, and may be better suited to waiting until an older age.

5. They Can Bathe on Their Own

Aside from the odd emergency with soap in the eyes, most seven year olds can showers without supervision. At camp you child will be required to shower, and get clean, independently.

6. They Understand What It Means

Before you can feel confident that your child is ready for camp, you will want to be sure they know exactly what they’re getting into. Walk through the in’s and out’s of camp, what they might do there, how bedtime works, etc. 

7. They Know How to Swim

Water activities are a beloved summer camp pastime, and if the camp you choose offers swimming, sailing or a similar sport, you’ll want to be certain your petite paddler can partake.

8. They Are OK With New People

Heading off to camp means your kids will meet all kinds of new people. If the idea of being around new people sits well with your kids, they can easily make conversation or be inclusive of other kids, they are likely ready to expand their friend circle at camp.

9. They Can Choose the Camp

If your kid is old enough to help you choose which camp he’d like to attend, then he may show more excitement and willingness to spend the night away from home. Select a few options that are tailored to his interests (horse camp, art camp, etc.), and let him make the final decision.

10. They Can Follow Instructions

There will be counselors and other grown-ups leading the show at your kids’ camp, and they need to be able to follow the instructions. If your children demonstrate proper behavior on a regular basis and follow rules on sports teams or at school, that is a good sign they are ready for camp.

11. They’ll Eat What’s on the Menu 

Do you have a picky child? There’s picky, and then there is the child who’s going to starve all week long because they don’t want to eat what’s on the menu. Most camps don’t allow campers to bring snacks, so they’re going to have to get used to eating what’s on the menu, or you should speak to the director ahead of time to see what types of foods are being served, and any accommodations that can be made.,

12. YOU Are Ready to Let Them Go

Your child may be jumping for joy at the thought of spending a week or more with friends old and new, but ultimately, you as the parent have to be ready to let them go. 

West Ohio Camps (Camp Otterbein, Camp Wesley, Camp Widewater) has a variety of camp lengths and options to fit all families. We even cater to young beginner campers with one night options to give them a taste of what they can experience as they get older and are more comfortable being away from home for a longer length of time. Find out more by visiting us at www.westohiocamps.com.