The new year’s almost here and even though summer seems far off, now’s the time to start planning your kid’s camp experience. Yes, really. Sleepaway camps are already starting to fill up, and if you’re planning to send them to day camp, you’ll want to weigh your options now so you can mark your calendar for open houses and enrollment dates.

Here’s what to consider:

SLEEPAWAY VS. DAY CAMP Figure out if this is the year he’s ready to stay for a few weeks. Has he slept at a friend’s house? Is he self-sufficient? Does he want to go?

NEW VS. OLD If she’s been going to the same camp for years, is it time to switch? Is it one her siblings go to? Talk with your kids about their dream summer.

SPECIALTY VS. TRADITIONAL If she’s obsessed with soccer or robotics, research immersive camps where she’ll do nothing but her favorite things. Find out if she’d rather try new things at a summer camp with classic offerings like swimming, crafts and capture the flag.

BUDGET Before picking a camp, figure out your spending limit. Does one week of sleepaway or specialty camp work? A month or two? Some camps offer discounts for multiple weeks.

HOURS If you’re looking for a day camp, make sure the hours fit with your work schedule. Find out if bus pickup and dropoff are available in your town. Checking this now, and factoring in extra transportation costs, is a must.

TOUR Call the camps you want to see (and be sure to check availability). Go to an open house and talk with other parents to find out what experiences your kid will takeaway.

DEADLINES Find out key deadlines, like when you’ll have to pay deposits and full balances. Even if it’s a local day camp, you’ll need to know when the paperwork is due.

SCHEDULE THEIR PHYSICAL Many doctors are busy in May and June, so book your appointment for late spring so you aren’t rushing at the eleventh hour.

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