Personality and Preference
With all children, temperament plays a large role in determining camp readiness. Kids who are independent, easygoing, and outgoing, enjoy socializing, or seek new experiences may want to go to sleep away camp as soon as their parents will allow it. Those who prefer one-on-one socializing, private time, or immersing themselves in one particular activity may not be ready for, or even like, an overnight camp. These children may prefer to spend their summer at home and to attend day camps or other activities.
Some children—especially those who had difficulty adjusting to their new homes or who are uncomfortable in new situations—may have separation anxiety or new fears of rejection. They may need to call their parents often while away, feel shy about making new friends or trying new things, or experience other symptoms of anxiety.
Preparing a child for sleep away camp is essential. Even kids who express a desire to go to camp, and who seem to be independent, benefit when parents take steps to smooth the transition (see “Doing the Prep Work”).
Also, keep in mind that some kids who seem to enjoy camp melt down and regress when they return to the safe confines of home. They may test the boundaries of their parents love, or “act out” to see whether their parents will tolerate their new independence. (Kids will sometimes express their emotions in extreme ways, or try to bend rules they previously followed.) Parents can help their child readjust to family life by sticking to familiar routines and giving them the love and security they need.