Whether this is your first time sending your kids to summer camp or you are a veteran of the process, these tips will help you get you and your children ready for summer camp! For first timers, consider it a survival guide. For veteran camp parents, consider this a helpful and friendly reminder. Let’s go!
Visit the Camp
One of the best ways to prepare yourself (and your children) for summer camp is by visiting the camp beforehand. Nearly all camps offer pre-camp visits, New Camper Orientations, and Welcome Days, giving you and your children the opportunity to see the camp and all the facilities, as well as meet counselors and other essential camp staff and have many of your questions answered to give you an added measure of peace about your children’s upcoming summer camp adventure.
Practice for Summer Camp
While it may sound silly at first, you and your children should practice for their upcoming camp experience. Think about it, if your children haven’t spent much time away from home at sleepovers, on playdates, and overnights with relatives, doing so before summer camp begins will help you both adjust to the separation. Let your kids spend the night at grandma’s house, attend some sleepovers with friends, or even enjoy playdates where you aren’t present. It’s the perfect way for you to prepare for them to be away and will give you both confidence that they can do it successfully.
In addition to practicing for separation, you’ll want to feel secure (and your children will too) in knowing they know how to handle all the self-care they’ll be responsible for at camp. Taking showers, brushing teeth, changing clothes daily, keeping their bunk area clean, are all important tasks that go along with keeping themselves and there living quarters clean while at camp.
Remind Yourself (And Your Children) It’s Okay to be Anxious and Even a Little Sad
If you are nervous or anxious about camp, your children will pick up on those feelings, and they may even be a little nervous about it too. Instead of trying to hide if from one another, take time to talk about it. Talking about concerns before your child goes to camp will help you both feel more confident about it. And remember, you may be a little sad while your children are away at camp. It’s really okay to allow yourself to miss them a little – but remember the ultimate goal is for your child to enjoy their new adventure, so encourage them do so!
Your Confidence Encourages Their Confidence
It can’t be said enough, when you are confident about your children’s abilities, you will encourage their confidence in themselves. Encourage your confidence and theirs by following these successful summer camps tips:
- Rather than packing for your children or simply allowing them to help, turn the tables and let them do the packing and you be the helper. Make sure all their belongings are labeled – shirts, swim suits, shorts, towels, sneakers, raincoat/poncho, sweatshirts, water shoes, flip flops, water bottles, hats, backpacks, etc.
- If you are concerned your children will need special help in some area (making friends, overcoming fears, shyness, etc.) talk to their camp counselors, privately, before camp begins and address your concerns. Camp counselors are expert at what they do – they can help!
- When you talk to your children while they are away, listen for cues as to how they are doing and instead of worrying, give them your complete support and encourage them to keep trying.