It’s never too early to start thinking about summer camp. “Whether you’re planning for a day camp or an overnight camp experience for your child, doing your homework and planning accordingly is the best strategy for a successful outcome,” says Renee Flax, director of camper placement for the American Camp Association, NY and NJ. The first step is to do your research. “Knowing about other’s experiences will help you decide if a camp is the right fit,” says Flax.

Talk to your kids about how they liked camp this past summer so you know what worked, what didn’t work and what you want to change for the summer of 2022.

Check schedules. Note deadlines for enrollment, especially if there’s a camp you really want your child to attend. Be sure to secure your spot so you can work the rest of your schedule around this program, says Flax.

Talk to camp directors. Give the camp director an accurate picture of your child and what your expectations are so you’ll know if it’s a good fit, says Flax.

Go to a camp fair. Whether you’re looking for a day camp or a sleepaway experience, camp fairs provide an easy way to compare your options.

Schedule a camp visit. Make it a priority to actually see camps that are in consideration with your kids. “You can visit their facility and get a tour,” says Flax. “It’s very reassuring for your child to see the facility and meet with the key staff.”

Send positive messages. Talk about the fun they’ll have, new friends they’ll make and camp traditions they’ll learn about. “The goal is to get your child excited about the new experience they will have,” says Flax.

Address any concerns. If you’re not sure how to answer all of your child’s pressing camp questions, it’s time to call on camp directors. They’ve dealt with all of these issues and can give you the tools you need.

Time to shop! If your child is going to sleepaway camp, follow the camp’s packing list and shop as early as possible to allow enough time for items to ship. Make a list of what you need for day camp, too, so your child is prepared before day one.