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Sunshine Parenting

May 13, 2022

HAPPY CAMPERS: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults is now available on Audible!

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In Episode 37, Sara Kuljis (of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp and Emerald Cove Day Camp), and I share tips and ideas for parents sending kids to overnight camp for the first time.

Camp Preparation Topics We Cover 


What parents need to do now, including reading through camp information and filling out all your camp forms thoroughly and completely.
Why camp staff needs the forms well in advance of your child's arrival.
Importance of letting camp directors know any special circumstances that might impact your child's stay.


Why it's never a good idea to make any changes in prescription medication right before camp.
Importance of sending all medications in their original prescription containers.
Thoughts on whether to continue vitamins.

Encouraging Your Child to Reach Out to Camp Staff:

Talking about and role-playing with your child how they can talk with trusted adults (counselors, directors) at camp.

Packing for Camp:

Importance of camper being involved in the packing process so they know where everything is!
Packing as a life skill and a way to build responsibility.
Make sure you know what items are not allowed at camp (so that those don't go to camp).
How to pack (rolling outfits, using ziplock bags, and other methods).
Not to bring expensive clothing items or ones that require special laundering.
Bringing a comfort item, photo album, journal, and/or books.

Sending Letters:

Send a letter ahead of time so your camper has one at first mail call!
Let friends and relatives know your camper's address at camp and any mail policies

Planning for Downtime before and after Camp:

Allow some margins in your family's schedule so your child can be well-rested before camp.

Familiarize Yourself with your Camp's Online Services:

Find out where to get news, photos, texts, etc.
Opt-in to anything that isn't going to automatically come to you!

The Gift of Letting Your Child go to Summer Camp:

Why letting your child go to camp is a great way to set your child up for future independent experiences.


Ep. 39: How to Handle Your Camper's Homesickness

Ep. 10: Homesick and Happy with Michael Thompson, Ph.D.

Countdown to Camp

5 Essential Summer Camp Packing Tips

5 Fun Ideas for Letters to Campers

Messages for an Anxious Camper

How Camp Helps Parents Raise Adults

Label Daddy

More information about Audrey’s book is here: Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults.

In Happy Campers, Audrey shares what she’s learned from three decades of creating a culture where kids become happier while gaining important social and emotional skills. The book is based on her thousands of interactions with campers, camp counselors, and parents, her academic research in positive psychology, and interviews with camp directors from across the country.