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Is Your Kid Ready for Sleepaway Camp?

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Two camp experts weigh in on how to prepare your kids for a few weeks away from home.

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Do you think your kid could handle sleepaway camp (or as some like to call it, "Vacation for Mommy")? Momlogic asked Howard Lanzman, founder of Camp Kennybrook in New York, and Lucy Norvell, director of the American Camp Association of New England, for some guidelines.

momlogic: How do I know if my kid is ready?

Lucy Norvell: It's not uncommon for kids to feel ready before their parents do. Kids might talk about it with you first if they hear about it from friends or classmates. Have them sleep away from home for a few nights -- or go on a school trip that involves a night away -- as they show signs that they're ready to be away from their family. Just see how that goes first, then make your decision.

ml: How will I know my kid is OK?

Howard Lanzman: Online photos and webcams are a wonderful thing -- parents can see how their kids are doing in real time. Parents get up at 7 AM just to see their kids! We also have the campers speak with their parents each week for 10 minutes by phone, and they are encouraged to write letters home.

ml: What are the benefits of sending a kid away to camp?

HL: Camp is a place for kids to get away, grow up and be themselves. As parents, we're all so involved in our kids' lives, we know every minute what is going on. Now, we're taking a kid for several weeks, and, very honestly, parents don't know what's going on at all times. And that's the beauty of it. Kids get to stand on their own feet. I can't tell you how many times parents tell me, "I can't believe my kids are coming home making so many decisions and doing so many things." We just don't give our kids the chance to be on their own enough.

LN: When a child goes to sleepaway camp, they are alone as an individual in a safe world. It's very difficult to find experiences where they can be independent, and sleepaway camp provides kids with an empowering first experience.

Will you send your kid away to camp this summer? Have you already? Comment below.


next: Staycation Dos and Don'ts
25 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kalara April 16, 2008, 4:08 PM

Uh…if it’s anything like the movie, probably not! *lol*

Ms.Irene May 31, 2008, 2:51 AM

Absolutely! My daughters went to a christian camp last year for their first time and loved it and repeatedly thanked me for the opportunity! They were able to “get away”, unwind, make new friends, learn, explore and have fun. They gained a little bit of independence and know how to make good decisions. Now they can’t wait to go again this summer!

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