Tips for Moms Sending Their Child to Sleepaway Camp for the First Time

5.13.18 by
tips for first time camp moms

Hey mamas – Happy Mother’s Day! Put down the labeler and checklist! Today is your day to sit back and relax with your campers and soak up quality time with your crew before it’s time to part ways in a few short weeks for sleepaway camp and the start of summer 2018. For all those moms sending their precious cargo to camp for the first time, enjoy our gift to you! Here are some pearls of wisdom from our team of experts and veteran moms. 

  • Remember to breathe!
  • Don’t obsess over the pictures. A day at camp is like a week in the real world.
  • Remember you sent them their to grow!  So even if bad stuff happens it’s good stuff!!
  • Enjoy having one less kid or no kids. Then relish in the quiet of your house.
  • Don’t overpack!!  But overpack socks and underwear. They either all come home (sometime unworn) or none come home.”

-Lanie Yerman

  • It’s never too early to start packing.
  • If your child doesn’t know anyone going to the same camp try to connect with a kid in the area before camp starts.
  • Pack extra socks and underwear and tee shirts.
  • Let your child be involved in packing.
  • Be calm positive and upbeat about their experience.
  • 2 gallon ziploc bags are great for packing and allow you to label everything.
  • Remember this is an incredible gift you’re giving to your child.

-Meredith Weiss

  • Whether you have a really excited camper or a really anxious camper (and whether you are a really excited parent and/or a really anxious parent) – if you have been avoiding those camp conversations for the past few months, start to slowly introduce them now.
  • Get those tears out…that’s for you mamas! The more you cry and prepare yourself beforehand, the more you will be prepared for the bus stop. KNOW its going to happen, so have those big sunglasses ready and be prepared with a line for what you are going to tell your child when he/she inevitably sees you crying!
  • Know your child…involve him/her in as much or as little of the process at this point as you think is best. If he/she is super excited, then talk talk talk about the packing and the organizing – do a little bit each day, look through all the stuff, talk about how they will set up their bed, etc. If he/she is super anxious, avoid all of this, it will be taken care of and there is no need for this conversation!
  • Send a few letters before your camper even leaves for camp…so not only will your camper have a letter the day he/she arrives, but also the 2nd day of camp which for some will be harder because the adrenaline of that first day will be dying down!”

-Hallie Grodin

  • I add a cute stuff animal in their duffel wrapped with a note so it’s waiting on their beds!
  • I send socks but keep 10 extra to bring VD and discard the nasty ones:). Same goes with boxers and underwear.
  • Large zip locks help organize packing in trunks.
  • Mini containers are very useful.
  • Party supply stores are your go to for affordable dress up!”

-Leslie Klein

  • Be excited, with a big smile on your face, every time you chat about camp . Even if you are nervous, which I’m sure you will be, your child will ​pick up on your worries.  So when you are scared and nervous and want to cry, go in your closet, but when you emerge have a huge grin and exude sheer joy and excitement and make that excitement so contagious that your child cannot wait to get to camp!!”

-Andrea Grinspoon

  • When the anxiety starts to mount…and it will (which is totally normal and natural) remember you are giving your child the greatest gift!! Camp is magic and will teach your child these 10 tricks. It will give them the place and space to grow beyond your wildest imagination and unplug to truly connect.

– Lauren Nearpass

Advice from some lovely mama’s in our community:

  • I send a letter to the my girls that is waiting for them on their camp beds, that is a fill in the blank which asks them all the questions that i want to know like: who do you sleep next to? Who are your counselors? Who are your bunk mates? What did you eat for dinner? What was the evening activity? How was the bus ride? Did you go swimming yet? Etc. i provide a self addressed, stamped envelope and tell them to fill it out that first night and send to me the next morning. I get a lot of information right away!

-Leigh G. 

  • Wear sunglasses to drop off! The bigger…the better!

-Lindsay B.

  • When writing letters to your camper, ask them lots of questions. What’s your favorite activity? Who’s in your bunk? What’s your counselors names and where are they from? What did you have for dinner the first night of camp? Also, pre-addressed envelopes are the best!!

-Lisa S.F.

  • A sharpie goes a long way!

-Jane R.




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