If you loved your own summer camp experiences as a child, you are likely excited about the prospect of sending your own child to one. But you might be worried that your son or daughter just isn’t old enough yet. So, when is your child old enough to go to camp?
The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There are sleep-away summer camps for children as young as 6, with day camps and mommy-and-me camps for younger children. However, just because your child turns 6 does not mean that he or she is ready to spend 1-8 weeks away from home. You know your child better than anyone else; you will know when the time is right.
These camps are day camps are generally designed for younger children, allowing them to practice important skills while socializing with other little ones their age. You get to come along and participate in the process, giving your child the confidence to branch out. This can be a great way to get ready for school if your child is set to begin his or her formal education in the fall. These camps are usually just a few hours, giving you plenty of time to still get things done.
In general, day camps are best for children who have already gone to school, even if it is just preschool. With these camps, your child will be gone for regular school hours, running around and having fun with other kids. You may or may not need to pack and lunch, and you pick the kids up when the day is done. There is no age limit on day camps; there are options for toddlers to teens.
While you could start when your child is 6, most kids will not be ready at that age. These camps are best once your child is about 8-9 years old and has already had some slumber parties and other sleep-away experiences. It is a good idea to start with a short, one-week camp before you jump into a full-summer camp, maybe doubling the time as each summer goes by.
Take some time to share your summer camp experiences with us. We would love to hear about them.