Dr. Greene’s Answer:
The first sleepaway camp can be both poignant and wonderful for kids and parents. The camp activities will usually keep kids pretty occupied, but warm touches from home can make a big difference. Sealed envelopes with a note to open each day are a big hit. You can also include a tin of treats to share with cabin mates on the first day, or perhaps a deck of playing cards.
Getting mail at camp is great for kids, as well as emails and faxes if the camp accepts them. (Some do these days–camps have changed since I was a kid!) If the camp has a pay phone, make sure to give him coins; he might not need to call you, but it will make him feel more secure.
Plan a special welcome-back dinner or treat before your child leaves for camp. That will give him something fun to look forward to when he gets home. You might even want to let him pick the menu in advance.