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Is Your Child Ready for Sleepaway Camp in California?

A group of camper at a beach.

Knowing when to send your child to a sleepaway camp isn’t as simple as them turning a certain age. Some six-year-olds are already ready to pack their bags and head out on an adventure, while some 12-year-olds aren’t—it all depends on the child! 

You probably have a sense that your kid is ready based on sleepovers alone. However, to help make the decision a little easier, here are a few signs your child will do just fine and thrive at sleepaway camp.

Your Child is Becoming Independent in Simple Tasks

When your child is able to confidently get ready for school, finish homework, or complete chores on their own this means they’re showing signs of independence. This is very important for sleepaway camp. Campers might need a gentle reminder to brush their teeth, but they should be able to complete simple tasks on their own. 

Camp teaches and encourages independence, but having a basic foundation can help ensure their success. In fact, the American Camp Association (ACA) says a key indicator that your child is ready for camp is if they’re able to shower on their own.   

Campers surfing.

Your Child is Showing Interest in Sleepaway Summer Camp

Sometimes there’s no need to look for signs. Kids usually know what they’re able to handle and if yours is asking to go to a sleepaway camp that’s a clue that they’re ready and eager. 

However, some kids still need a little push, and that’s totally fine. When asking if they would be interested in summer camp, look at their reaction. Are they excited and intrigued by the idea? Or are they scared about leaving home? Their reaction can be a key part of your decision to send them away.

A group of campers.

Your Child Has Had Successful Sleepovers

This could mean a sleepover at a friend’s, grandparent’s, or other close relative’s house. But the key is that they’re at someone else’s home. If your child had fun, was able to sleep, and didn’t show any high anxiety behavior you know your child can sleep away from home. It’s important to have a few sleepovers, not just one, to make sure everything runs smoothly consistently. 

Your Child Doesn’t Always Need a Parent at Bedtime

Similar to sleepovers, the idea here is that they don’t always need a parent to put them to bed. If they’ve successfully fallen asleep with babysitters, then they’re most likely ready for sleepaway camp. If it’s only been you or close relatives tucking your child in, then they might not be ready for camp. 

Bedtime can be stressful for kids because it’s a time of routine that’s closely associated with parents. Teaching them the skills to put themselves to bed without a parent is crucial for their development and will get them ready for summer camp. 

Your Child Can Adapt to New Situations & is Interested in New Things

If your child is able to handle experiences with new teachers, coaches, classmates, and teammates then they’ll be able to quickly adapt to camp and its new environment. And if your kid is excited by the idea of making new friends and trying new things, then they’re bound for success at summer camp. 

Campers on a sailboat.

Your Child Understands What “Device Free” Means

Phones are not allowed at most summer sleepaway camps. The goal is to keep kids focused on the here and now, making connections with the people around them. It’s also a great way to help kids unwind, and get outside to smell the roses. 

If your child has a difficult time unplugging, it might be worth having a conversation about “roughing it” without their phone or gaming device. Your child’s reaction to this chat could be a determining factor in their readiness for camp.

Making Sleepaway Camp Easy and Fun

After having these important conversations and determining that they’re ready for a sleepaway summer camp, look at different camps with your child. Pursue websites, take virtual tours, and look at the camps’ different program offerings to find the one that suits your kid’s interests.

If they’re obsessed with marine life, the ocean, swimming, and science then Catalina Sea Camp is the perfect place for them. Here campers enjoy the experience of a lifetime learning marine biology, developing new skills, and having fun with newfound friends. Learn more about our programs and check out our dates and rates for this upcoming summer session. We’d love to meet your camper!