Did you know it’s estimated that around 8.4 million people sleepwalk?
When most people think about sleepwalkers they may envision a groggy adult sluggishly walking around the house. Many people aren’t aware that kids sleepwalking in children is very common.
When you’re the parent of a sleepwalker, you don’t have any problems dealing with a sleepwalking child. But you’re worried about how other people may react when you can’t be around.
Believe it or not, plenty of sleepwalking kids are able to safely enjoy sleepaway camp every summer.
Want to know how to prep your kid for a fun time away at camp and keep yourself worry free? Read on to learn more.
Tips For Managing Your Sleepwalking Child at Sleepaway Camp
Bedtime and nighttime can already be stressful enough for parents. Imagining your child away from you and possibly sleepwalking in a strange environment can almost seem like too much to handle.
You may not be able to fully stop their sleepwalking, but there’s plenty you can do to make sure that they’re safe when they’re at camp.
When you’re preparing your little one and counselors for camp, make sure that you keep these essential tips in mind.
Talk to Counselors
Some parents focus on talking to sleepaway camp nurses about their kid’s sleepwalking problem. While it is a good idea to make the nurse aware of the situation, it’s far more important for counselors to know how to handle sleepwalking situations.
Try making a list of need to know information before you talk to counselors so you can be sure to hit on important points. Many parents find it helpful to include things such as:
- Known sleepwalking triggers
- Times the child is more likely to sleepwalk
- Your method for dealing with sleepwalking episodes
- Sleeping recommendations (bed or door alarm use, bottom bunk only, etc.)
- General information about sleepwalking
Remember, there’s a lot of misinformation around sleepwalking.
Some people could do something drastic or dangerous because they’re uncomfortable with the situation. Others may be too afraid to do anything because they’re worried about making it worse.
This is why it’s important to talk to counselors. They’re going to be spending the most time with your child at sleepaway camp, and they’re going to be responsible for their wellbeing.
Also, be sure to let them know what an episode looks like. If your child tends to talk or have their eyes open, counselors may not be able to tell a groggy kid from a sleepwalking kid.
Talk About Security
It isn’t enough to just let the sleepaway camp know that your child has a problem with sleepwalking. You should also take time to learn about the kind of security measures the camp uses to keep kids safe overnight.
You shouldn’t expect your child to be under tight supervision 24 hours a day when they’re at camp. But it is reasonable to expect certain safety precautions to be put in place.
Are the bunks and cabins locked at night? Is a camp counselor always in the room with the kids overnight, or do they leave at a certain time? Is there a security guard or nurse on duty during the nighttime?
All of these are important things to know when you’re thinking about the camp to send them to. If you aren’t happy with the answers the staff is giving you, don’t be afraid to look in other locations.
Let Them Know Their Triggers
You may be aware that certain things tend to trigger sleepwalking episodes, but your child may not. It’s important for your child to know their own personal signs and symptoms of triggering a sleepwalking fit.
Does your child tend to sleepwalk when they’re taking over the counter medication or have a cold a fever? Let them know that if they start to feel under the weather, it could be a sign that they may sleepwalk soon.
Is stress a trigger for sleepwalking? Encourage your child to stay level-headed and find ways to calm themselves down.
Once they know what signs to look out for, they’ll be able to let an adult or friend know that they’re concerned they may start sleepwalking soon. They can also take precautions to avoid triggering situations.
Encourage Healthy Habits
You know your child’s sleepwalking gets worse when their sleep schedule is erratic, but you won’t be able to monitor their bedtime when they’re away.
Let’s face it, “lights out” can rarely mean sleep when kids are at camp or sleepovers. Your child should know that there is a link between their walking episodes and their sleep schedule.
Encourage them to get up and sleep at around the same time every day. Being an hour off isn’t the worst, but consistently missing their proper bedtime or morning alarm can cause problems.
If your child is aware of the link between their sleepwalking episodes and their sleep schedule, they may be more inclined to stick to it themselves.
Create a Plan
Having a plan that you know your child, counselor, and bunkmates can follow will give you peace of mind and ensure that your kid is taken care of.
Give your child suggestions on how to handle some of their sleepwalking triggers. Make sure that counselors and bunkmates know what to do in case they catch your child in the middle of the episode.
Most camps encourage kids to keep their bunks clean but see if kids can do a quick clean up of the room 10 minutes before bed to remove any tripping obstacles.
You and your family may be aware of your child’s sleepwalking habits, and a few of their close friends and parents could know too. But your child is going to be in a situation where most of the people don’t know about their sleepwalking problem.
It isn’t uncommon for some kids to feel anxious or embarrassed about their sleepwalking problem. This is why you should do what you can before camp to make them comfortable with acknowledging and managing their problem.
Let your child know that sleepwalking is very normal, and encourage them to talk to their friends about it. They should know that it’s okay to be open about it and that having their friends in the know could make nights easier for everyone.
Sleepwalking can be a safety issue, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal to other kids. Once your kid is okay with the idea that they occasionally sleepwalk, they won’t have to feel embarrassed.
Learn Your Options
Childhood sleepwalking can be troublesome, but it’s no reason for your kid to miss out on fun experiences. Following the tips in this article can make camp for any sleepwalking child a fun and safe experience.
Do you want to learn more about summer camp options? Would you be interested in speaking with an expert on the best camps to send your child to?
Request free information on the topics you’re most interested in.