All of our kids to date have loved going on school camp. Fortunately we haven’t had any one who has found it hard to be separated from the family. I think having sleep overs at their aunties and nana’s houses with out mum and dad around from when they were young has been helpful with this.
At the primary school our kids attend they start going on school camp in year three for one night and build upon that. It was our nine year old’s first school camp this year and he was going away for one night to a camp about an hour away from Melbourne. Having seen three of his siblings go off to camp he was super excited about it being finally his turn.
Going to camp is a sign of increasing independence and as such I try to hand over as much responsibility for packing and organising for the camp to the child who is going. Here are some things we do when it comes to packing for school camp:
- When the packing list comes in, I have the child run through the list and highlight any items that we do not have and will need to buy or borrow before they go. I like to do this as soon as the list comes in to make sure there are no last minute scrambles to run out of the house to borrow or buy items.
- If it is younger kids going on camp, they are most likely still having baths at home. They do have occasional showers but a shared bath is most common, so we make sure that in the lead up to camp, they have a few more showers and are confident in running their own shower and getting the temperature right.
- If they are required to take a sleeping bag for the camp, we have it out 3 – 4 days before so they can practice getting it out, using the zips and packing the sleeping bag away.
- 2 -3 days out have the child choose which bag/suitcase they will be taking to camp and get it out ready. Check to make sure it is clean and in working order. Have the child lay out all the items on the list they need to take near the case.
- 1 -2 days before (depending on how keen they are) have the child pack all items in their bag, crossing each item of the list as they pack. We spend some time discussing the best way to pack all the items, for example what items will they need first? Those items should be packed last so they will be on top of everything. If it is a bag that has different compartments, we talk about which compartments will work best for certain items (eg shoes, underwear).
I find it is important for kids to pack themselves as they need to be aware what they have taken with them and where they can find it. They are completely capable of doing it and each year they do it, they become more skilled at packing and as they reach secondary school, they can begin packing for school camp by themselves.
What else do you do, to help your child become independent?