The thought of sending your child off to summer camp comes with mixed emotions. It’s nice to think you’ll have some freedom and flexibility because they are gone. However, you’ll also miss their smiling faces and worry a little bit about how they are doing.
For some parents, this upcoming summer camp may be the first time they are away from home on an overnight trip without you. With this first-time experience, you may also have a chid who is putting up a fight about not wanting to go to camp! Here are some tips on how you can survive summer camp as a parent.
1. Research Summer Camps Together
To help you and your child feel good about the summer camp experience, include them in the research and planning process. While you have the final say because there is a budget and other parameters to consider, it helps you and your child to talk about what it will be like and what kind of summer camps are available for your child’s interests. If you have more than one had, you can do this as a group, which may save time and encourage each child to speak up. This way, you’ll also be able to show them what each summer camp is like by looking at the information and videos online together.
2. Get Information on the Summer Camp
The more you know about where your child is going, the less likely you will to worry about it. While the summer amp most likely offers a lot of information on their website, consider looking at social media and review sites to get opinions from other parents whose children have already attended the summer camp There are also open houses that provide a way for you and your child to feel more at ease about the experience.
3. Have Discussions with Your Child About Their Concerns
If this is your child’s first trip to summer camp, it’s important for them and you that you hear about their concerns. Don’t necessarily share your own concerns with them as that might add stress. Instead, listen to what they have to say. By providing answers and comfort, you may even find you start to relax about the idea of summer camp and get over your own separation anxiety. Direct the conversation toward positive things, such as their strengths, the skills they will learn, and the fun they will have while three.
4. Avoid Focusing on Being Gone
Don’t focus on the fact that they will be gone or tell your child that you will miss them. This will lead you and them to focus on the homesickness and distance part of the equation .Instead, by thinking and talking about what to look forward to, you can make it exciting for them and you. Just think of all the great things they can share with you about their summer camp experience when they get back home. Plus, it’s important for your kids to have situations where they begin to establish a sense of independence.
5. Pick Communication Times
More summer camps are actually discouraging cell phone use, which is great because they want your child to get the most out of it. While it may be a shock and worry not to talk to your child for a day or more, know that they will be okay and let them have the space. You can consider other communication forms like the traditional hand-written letter. It’s a novel thing for your kids to try and you’ll get some communication from them to ease your mind.
6. Shop and Pack Early for Summer Camp Essentials
When you register, each summer camp will provide you with a list of essentials. Don’t wait until the last minute to get this done. Instead, start early so you don’t stress yourself out or pay more than you need to. Stick to the list and don’t pack any unnecessary items. Include your child in the shopping and packing so they feel involved in the process. This participation also can help build excitement. Also, having them shop and pack is a way to teach them some life skills. Starting early will ensure you also remember to get and pack everything plus you’ll have time to label everything.
7. Cover All Health and Allergy Issues
If your child has food allergies, then a trip away from home can be a bit more worrisome for you. However, if you contact the camp and discuss these, provide the necessary medicine, and communicate with your child about how to handle these situations, then you’ll be able to relax. Be sure to send clear dosage instructions along with your child to ensure that this is handled correctly. It may also be good to double-check that all vaccinations are up to date well before leaving for summer camp. Waiting to the last minute and realizing they are missing a vaccination could mean they miss out on the fun altogether.
8. Discuss Rules and Behavior with Your Child
No one wants to be the parent that gets the call from the summer camp that your child was the unruly one that needs to be sent home. Instead, take the time to give your child guidelines to follow on how to co-habitate with other kids in a cabin, including how to give people privacy and keep belongings organized. Share suggestions on how to be polite, courteous, and respectful of camp counselors and other campers.
9. Give Your Kids Tips on Summer Camp
You’ll also feel better if you know they are taking care of themselves. Teach them how to apply sunscreen and even bug spray. Have them practice using a flashlight in the dark so they know what it’s like. Even though the summer camp will go over safety guidelines, it will give you peace of mind if you also review some common sense actions and decisions that will keep your child safe.
10. Don’t Dawdle When Dropping Your Child Off
Leave quickly when you are dropping them off at summer camp. Do a quick hug and go. Lingering only makes it worse, especially if it’s their first time. If they see that you are not making a big deal of it, they will bless likely to make a fuss. This allows your child to focus on the fun in front of them and start interacting with the other kids who may even become friends for life. You are doing the right thing to let them go to summer camp. Make sure they don’t feel guilty having a great time because they are worried that you are at home crying over them.