Your children are getting older and finding ways to keep them occupied during the summer gets more challenging. Unlike the kids, you still have to work and they need daily structure, socialization, interaction, and activities to keep their minds stimulated. A solution that parents have found beneficial for decades is sending their children to sleepover camp. These are summer camps in which children stay in the care of camp staff for a large portion of the summer.
Overnight or sleepaway camps are a lot of fun. They give kids time away from their normal environments to connect with others, explore nature, and have fun. As fun as these experiences can be, however, that’s not to say it will be easy the first time. Chances are it’s the first time your child will be away for a long period of time and the unknown is emotionally challenging for you both. Getting through that first experience will be different but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some suggestions on how to prepare your kids and yourself for summer camp.
Choose the Right Camp
The best way to ease both you and your child’s insecurities is to make sure that you choose an appropriate camp. You want to know that they are going someplace that is going to be beneficial to their health and development, but also fun. When your kids are confident they’re somewhere having a good time, they are less inclined to be nervous or afraid of going away for a few weeks.
You should not only do research online but talk to other parents and children if allowed to see what their experiences were like, read online reviews to see what others have to say about the establishment, and even get your child’s input on where they’d like to go.
Go for a Visit
No matter how great the reviews, commercials, online videos, or feedback is about a summer camp there is nothing like a firsthand encounter. To provide peace of mind, gain more understanding, and to ease any anxieties your child may have about going consider scheduling a visit. Walk around the premises, ask questions, and even allow your child to interact with staff to see how well they get along.
Make Sure They’re Packed Appropriately
After you and your kids have decided on the best place to send them to summer camp it’s time to pack. Though there are still a few months before summer you’re packing for several weeks at a time and typically following a very detailed list from the camp administration. Make sure you’re only packing clothes that you don’t mind if they get damaged, avoid sending too many things of value or electronics, get customized labels for camp to place on their items to help them keep track, and most importantly get your kids involved in the packing process. If they have some say on the things they take with them they are more inclined to get excited about the adventure ahead.
Be Mindful of What You’re Projecting
Talking about going away for summer camp, homesickness, and separation anxiety is normal and healthy for parents to do with their kids. Be that as it may, you don’t want to create a bigger emotional burden for your child by making them feel as if you’ll be devastated if they leave or that you’re going to be sad the whole time they’re away. It’s okay to express that they will be missed but try to do more listening and reassuring your child than making the matter worse.
Sending your kid to day camp is one thing but when they’ll be gone for several days or weeks at a time it’s a different dynamic. In order to make sure that your child sees this as a fun learning experience it is imperative that you prepare them. Finding the right camp, allowing them to be part of the decision making, talking with them about their feelings, making sure they have all they need packed and reassuring them that they’re going to love the experience will not only help them through this summer but give you peace of mind as well.