You're sending your child to sleepaway camp for the first time, and all you want is for your kid to make new friends and enjoy the best time of the year. In all the excitement, you may also be worried that your little camper will have trouble with homesickness or will need you during the time away. Staying somewhere unfamiliar for the first time can be a real a challenge, but you can help your child manage the anxiety and have a great time at camp. Here are some tips.
There is nothing to get your child more excited about summer camp than actually seeing the camp facilities. If possible, plan a visit to the camp so your child can see all the amazing activities that await. Many camps offer an open house, so be sure to go if you possibly can.
If you cannot visit the camp ahead of time, create an obsession with the camp website. Look at pictures with your camper and talk excitedly about all the fun the stuff that the camp has to offer. Soon your child will be begging for camp to start.
Work the Mail
Before camp begins, start collecting postcards and other things that will make your camper smile. Send something every day if possible. When the mail is passed out, every camper wants to get something.
Mail your first letter a few days before camp starts, so your child has something from you waiting. It will make camp seem closer to home.
Print pictures of family members and friends and pack them up for camp. Your child can tape them to the walls around the bunk or make a little book to look at if homesickness sets in.
Have a Practice Run
Send your child on some overnights with a friend or to a grandparent's house to get a little bit of that camp experience. Your child will need to know how to manage possessions, take care of personal hygiene and be generally responsible. You can start facilitating this in small doses, and trial runs help you recognize where your camper might need some instruction or encouragement.
It may seem silly, but you will also want to practice saying goodbye to your camper. If you will be dropping your child off for camp, drag your child out to the car and practice saying goodbye. Your camper will benefit from you making the experience familiar.
Summer camp can be an amazing time when a child becomes more independent, makes lifelong friends and learns about the world outside of home. Help your child have the best camp experience possible by taking steps to get prepared.
To learn more, contact a summer camp for kids like Learning Tree Schools.