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Six Year Old Too Young For Overnight Camping

By Jodie Lynn


My six-year-old-son is in a boy's club that teaches boys how to do various hands-on activities. The leader has suggested that they camp out as a group for stronger bonding. There are about ten other boys in the club. However, my son is petrified of spending the night away from home. How can I introduce him to the good things about staying away from home and the fun he will have from doing so?


Ask the leader if he needs any adult volunteers for that specific night. Normally, they do and will appreciate parents who are able to come on board. However, if your son would truly benefit from the overnight camping trip, perhaps you could stay as long as possible and then leave telling him that you will be back in the morning. If while you are preparing to leave he becomes anxious and upset, just take him with you. Like you said, the trip is for a bonding experience, which it won't be if he is truly scared. Just explain all of this to the leader beforehand so that there are no surprises should your son need to leave when you do. - A. H. in Memphis, TN


While I realize that there may be some six-year-olds that do spend the night with friends and relatives, it is actually a little young for an overnight, outdoor camping trip or really any kind of overnight experience without adults, unless it is at his own house. Surely, the boy's club leader would welcome as much information about your son as possible and may even change it to an outdoor adventure that would end at an acceptable time during the same evening for all of the kids. Camping is a wonderful experience for kids and should be held in high regard as a positive bonding event. Should there be anything scary or stressful about it, just like with anything else, it could very well be years before he considers trying it again. If he has already displayed this type of anxiety, I would pass on it until he gets a couple of years older. The last thing he needs at this point is to have his fears negatively exploited in front of several other children ending in fear of future experiences away from home.

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I am shocked at the amount of sugary products still offered to our children in the snack machines. In fact, there are three of them located in prominent spots throughout my children's small private school. Is it allowed because it is a private school and they are not governed by stricter health food laws? Are there any mandated health food laws when it comes to children and the snack machines? How do I go about bringing this topic up with the principal without appearing to be a complaining parent?

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© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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