Summer is right around the corner, and if you're considering signing your child up for his or her first summer camp, you may be in for a stressful experience. You want to find a camp that's safe, fun and fits within your budget. And if you're looking at an overnight camp, there's a chance it could be your child's first extended stay away from home. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to take the stress out of the signup process.
Don't wait until the last second.
Is it possible to get your kid into camp the day before it starts? Sure, but you may be dealing with limited options if you wait too long. According to the American Camp Association, summer camp enrollment has experienced steady growth over the last five years, so give yourself time to find a camp that meets your child's needs before it fills up.
Don't freak out if your first choice is already full.
The most popular summer camps likely sold out on the first day of registration. Just because your first choice is full doesn't mean there aren't still plenty of options available.
Find the spring sweet spot.
Finding a middle ground between rushing to sign up on the first day of registration, and scrambling to find an open camp at the last second, lands you right in the heart of spring. It's still early enough to have plenty of options, and many camps offer early registration discounts that extend through the end of April, with some offers lasting as late as May 31.
Like most things in life, going through the summer camp signup process gets easier after your first experience. If you find one your child loves, you won't have to do any research next year and might even be able to reserve a spot before the camp ends; talk to a camp counselor about reserving a spot for next summer or set a calendar reminder for the first day of registration next year.
If your child wants to try a different camp next time, you'll have something to compare other camps to and can draw on your first experience. No matter when you sign up, the important thing is to find a camp that will keep your child happy and active over the summer.