Are you sending your kids to sleepaway camp for the first time this summer?
Going to camp can be a fun experience for your child. They will participate in sports, games and other unique activities. They also may experience some of their own independence for the first time too.
But attending camp can cause some anxiety for your child. There is the uncertainty of being away from his or her parents for the first time and being around new people.
Read on to learn how to prepare your anxious child for sleepaway summer camp!
Discuss Their Feelings
You can help your child by discussing their feelings about overnight camp.
These conversations are ones you should have long before you are packing your child up to head to camp. It is helpful to have these talks at least a couple months before they head off to camp.
Pick a time to talk about your child’s concerns and have the chat(s) in a place where they feel comfortable.
This will allow them to open up to you more about their potential fears and concerns. It’s important to let them know that having some fear and anxiety about going to camp is a normal feeling to have.
By allowing them to open up to you about their thoughts, you can explain more about what happens at camp. This can help ease some of their anxiety and feel more confident about going away for the summer.
Visit Camp Before Summer
Visiting the sleepaway camp before your child begins is a great way to help them know what to expect before they go.
In today’s digital age, summer camps often have a lot of pictures, videos, and other information on their website. This can be helpful but at the same time, overwhelming for you and your child.
Going to camp to see it in person is an effective way to help your child feel more comfortable about it. That’s because they will see where they are living and spending their time.
It’s also a way for your child to meet some of the staff and develop a friendship with him or her before they arrive at camp. That way your child will see some familiar faces on their first day instead of potentially not knowing anyone.
Share Your Own Camp Stories
Have you ever attended a sleepaway summer camp?
If you went to camp growing up, this can be a great way to relate to your child and help calm them down about going away for the summer.
Think back to how you felt leading up to sleepaway summer camp. It’s possible that you had many of the same feelings your child has now.
By sharing with your child, the feelings that you had from years ago, this is another way to show them it’s normal to be a little anxious about going to camp!
Even if you did not go to camp, think back to a time in your life where you have been anxious about how an event would play out.
There is nothing quite like summer camps for teens. But there are ways to relate to your child’s feelings through other experiences.
Use examples of how you handled uncertain events in your life to help your child through this one!
Being positive about preparing for and attending sleepaway summer camp can go a long way for you and your child.
Did you know a child’s positive attitude has shown a connection to improved performance?
According to an extensive study by the Stanford University School of Medicine, a child’s positive attitude about math has resulted in improved performance in the subject.
But the benefits of a positive attitude don’t stop at doing better in school! Your child’s positive outlook about camp will help them be more motivated to attend and enjoy it.
You can help your child by keeping a good attitude and finding ways to turn their concerns into something positive.
For example, your child may be anxious about not knowing any of the other kids at camp.
But one way to spin this in a positive light is to speak to them about why meeting new people is good for them. Your child may learn that those new kids have some of the same interests as them!
Keep Your Child Involved in Preparation
Actively involving your child in the preparation process is a great way to help them build excitement toward the big day!
Each part of the process that your child participates in is one less uncertainty for them about going to camp.
There is a lot to do before your child goes away to camp. Some of these things include buying new clothes and packing their bags. You should include your child in some of the decision-making for what they will bring to camp.
For example, let them pick out some of their outfits for camp or what special toy or other item they will bring from home. This will help decrease some of their anxiety about camp while increasing their excitement level.
Make a list of “Camp To-Do’s” and start crossing them off together with your child!
Wrapping Up: Preparing for Sleepaway Summer Camp
Going away to sleepaway summer camp is an exciting time for you and your child. But the fears and concerns your child may have about it are an opportunity for them to grow and mature!
That’s because sleepaway camp is a chance for them to meet new people, have new experiences, and overcome some challenges. These are all valuable life lessons and just some of the benefits of going to camp.
At The Camp Experts & Teen Summers, we match families and children/teens with the best camp programs for them! We have researched more than 1,000 camps to help you find the right one for your child!
Are you interested in learning about other ways to help your child prepare for camp?
Check out our blog post on the Top 10 Tips to Prepare Your First-Time Overnight Camper for Summer Camp!