Many of us have such fond memories of sleepaway camp when we were kids. Not only is it a time for fun and sun, but a great learning experience as well. And it’s something we want our children to experience for themselves.
But with that comes some anxiety. Will my child do OK away from home? Will I do OK with them away from home? And how can I make sure the transition is comfortable for everybody?
Be sure to do one thing – relax. With some proper planning and using tips along the way, preparing for sleepaway camp will be a piece of cake. So, let’s discuss some tips to help replace the anxiety with some excitement for both you and your kid.
Involve Your Kid in the Packing Process
While at camp, your kid will be in charge of his or her own stuff, so why not let them be in charge of the packing process as well? (Besides, you could use the help!)
Let them have a say on what items they bring with them. Teach them how to pack it all so they know how to re-pack when camp is over. And try not to overpack because they won’t have much storage room while they’re there, so it will end up everywhere.
But most of all, when your child knows what’s in their bag, they can feel confident in knowing they’re prepared. And they’ll know where it all is when they need it most.
Pack Extra Essentials
Kids are dirt magnets. While at camp, multiply that times a thousand.
Make sure they pack extra underwear, socks, and t-shirts. That way, no matter what puddle they jump in, hill they roll down, or how many worms they dig up, they’ll be sure to have a pair of dry, clean undies to change into.
And while you’re at it, you can never have too much sun protection at camp. That doesn’t exist. Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses… whatever your child uses. Double it.
Let Them Know What to Expect
The fear of the unknown can be the biggest part of pre-camp jitters. For both the kid and the parents! But finding out all the information you can beforehand, and talking to your child about it, will put everyone at ease.
If there’s a preview day opportunity at camp, jump on it. Physically knowing and seeing where your child will be spending their time will be reassuring on everyone.
Talk to you kid about what camp will be like. Explain activities, what the sleeping arrangements will be like, and if any of their friends will be there. Really anything that will take more of the unknown out of the equation will be gold all the way around.
Practice Their Independence Skills
Like it or not, sleepaway camp is one of the first experiences your child will have in learning to be independent without you. And that’s a good thing – honestly.
They’re going to need to learn how to care for their things on their own. How to handle their toiletries, fix their hair, make their bed, pay for things at the camp store, clean up after themselves. And pretty much everything that goes into early-adulting.
Have a trial run at this before they leave. Make sure they’re comfortable with doing things on their own.
It’s not only things that will make camp go easier for them, but life lessons they’ll take with them forever.
You’re anxious, we know. And that’s ok!
But no matter how nervous you are on the inside, don’t let it show on the outside. Your child will pick up on it, in a heartbeat. And the last thing they need is any undue jitters.
On that same token, don’t be overly excited about it either. That could put them over the edge.
Let your child have room for their own thoughts and feelings to surface about their upcoming experience. You don’t want to scare them to death and you don’t want to raise their expectations to unsightly heights either.
Instead, let them take the lead. They’re in the driver’s seat on this one.
Send Them Mail
Snail mail isn’t usually a massive thing at home. But at camp, it’s like winning the lottery. What kid doesn’t want to receive mail and packages from home?
Write some letters. Send a care package or two. Send anything you know will brighten their day.
Just be sure you abide by the camp mail rules. Many sleepaway camps have restrictions on what can and cannot be kept on the campgrounds.
And if you want you kid to win points from their bunkmates, send something fun they can share with everyone.
And though it may be hard, don’t let your feelings get hurt if they don’t send any mail back. Don’t think of it as they don’t miss you. Think of it as they’re having too much fun to write any letters, and that’s what camp is all about anyway.
Enjoy the “Me” Time
Sleepaway camp isn’t just about fun for your child. It’s about a break for you too!
Of course you’ll miss them, and of course they’ll be on your mind. But take that extra time to do things you don’t normally get to do for yourself.
This enables you to spend extra quality time with your other kids. Have date nights with your partner. Or you know that nap you’ve been dying to take? It’s now yours!
Most of all, use the time to relax. Because you know that will dissipate as soon as they get back!
Sleepaway Camp Is a Growing Experience for You and Your Child
Sleepaway camp is an amazing experience for your child. It’s about so much more than campsites and crafts. It’s an experience that helps them learn, grow, and become confident in their independence.
Not only that, but it’s a learning experience for the whole family. One full of delightful stories and memories to cherish.
Have questions or what more information about sleepaway camps? Contact us today!