By Jodie Lynn
Our 10-year-old daughter would like to go to an overnight summer camp along with her friends. However, we tried this last year and she could only stay one night. It was too late to fill her spot and we ended up losing more than half of the fee. How can we decide whether to sign her up or not?
ANSWER FROM READER:
We signed our 9-year-old son up for a sports camp. Part of it was local and the last few activities included an over-night stay of three days. He did not like being away from home and also asked us to pick him up. We're not sure exactly what the problem was, but we did pick him up. Maybe see if your daughter would agree to a "day camp only" situation for a least one more time. - James and Stacey W. in San Diego, CA
Some kids are just not ready to stay away from their parents for several days and nights before the age of 11, especially if there are tons of kids whom they do not know and the camp is located in the woods. It can be scary for a variety of reasons. Maybe for this year, allow her to attend a day camp that runs a little longer than the previous ones she's participated in. She may be disappointed in the beginning but would most likely be ready for the overnight one next year. Talk to her about what kind of a camp she is interested in and pick up brochures. Even though it is only day camp, there is no reason you and she cannot go to visit before it begins. Visiting the site can also give your daughter a jump start on familiarizing herself with the surroundings and their distance from home. Write down questions about camp policies. Ask specific questions that would directly affect her. For example, if it is a mostly outside day camp, what will they do if it is too hot or if it rains? How many kids are in each group? Are the groups made of kids of similar ages? Are there water fountains available throughout the facility and in the outside areas? Inquire if there are any extra materials or paraphernalia that she will need before starting the camp. Be sure to ask who runs the camp sessions. If it is mainly teens, your decision may need to be based on this. Some parents do not like the idea of every class being led by a teen. This also depends on what kind of a camp it is. Let her invite a friend to camp. Be sure it is someone you know that she gets along with in these types of situations. Things are always easier to handle if a friend comes along.
CAN YOU HELP?
Our son is planning on getting his learner's permit this summer. This means he will be able to drive with an adult in the car. What are some easy guidelines to make him feel more comfortable about driving that we could set up for him so we don't constantly nag him or make him feel uncomfortable?
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