Recently, we had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Dan Marullo, a Pediatric Psychologist & Neuropsychologist at Children’s of Alabama. With 30 years of experience as a camp counselor, primarily with special needs children, he was able to provide insight on how to make the first-time camp experience easier for both you and your child.
According to Dr. Marullo, attending camp can be an incredibly beneficial and growth-inducing experience for young people across all age groups, especially those with special needs.
Things to Consider Before Sending Your Child to Camp
What are the benefits of children going to camp?
Attending camp provides an opportunity for children to build interpersonal skills and grow in independence. It’s a place where they can hone leadership skills, develop a strong sense of community, and become better at collaborating with others.
What are the benefits to the parents when their child goes to camp?
Enrolling children in summer camps can be an excellent opportunity for children and their parents. While it gives young people a chance to gain independence, it also allows the adults to learn more about their child’s resilience and adaptability in new situations. Having an organized and secure setting for their child helps ease the burden of parenting for some amount of time.
What should parents consider when choosing a camp for their child?
Prior to enrolling their child in a camp, it is important for parents to ensure that the program has the proper accreditations and features experienced personnel along with suitable facilities. Such research will help ascertain whether the camp provides a safe and quality experience for the youngster.
What age is a child ready for camp?
Day camps can be incredibly helpful for preschool children as it provides them with a sense of structure and order similar to what they receive from preschool. Overnight camps are typically open to those aged 7 to 9, although some will accept even younger kids of 6 years old or more.
What tips would you offer parents sending their child to camp for the first time?
To ensure both you and your child are well-prepared for camp, there are several steps that must be taken. Particularly in the case of younger children or those with special needs, or even when a child is away from home for the first time, it is vital they learn the skills needed to manage separation and loneliness. Additionally, parents should devise strategies to cope with their own anxiety over sending their kids away.
Need help finding a camp for your child? Check out our 2023 Birmingham Camp Guide
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