How To Prepare Your Kids For Summer Camp

By Lauren Levine
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Courtesy of istockphoto

Courtesy of istockphoto

When your little one is headed off to summer camp for the first time, there are so many emotions involved: Excitement! Nerves! Hope! And that’s just coming from Mom and Dad! But with all joking aside, it’s important to prep your little one for their first camp experience. Here are some ways to do it:

Talk to them about what to expect

For new campers, the anticipation and uncertainty about this experience can be scary. They know camp will be fun, but they don’t really know what to expect. Going over small details can help to ease jitters. Will your child get dropped off? Will they take a bus? What time will they get picked up? What can they expect to do during their time at camp? For overnight campers, where will they sleep? Where will they eat their meals? Going over these details can help kids to learn what to expect, allowing them to feel more comfortable.

Take a tour of the grounds before they head off

When kids show up to camp knowing where they’ll sleep, where the bathrooms are, and where to find the arts and crafts tent, suddenly they’re no longer in a big, unfamiliar place. Taking a tour of the campgrounds before they head off for their first day is a great way to make them feel instantly more at ease. This way, when it’s time for camp to start, they’re not stepping into completely unfamiliar territory. If possible, help your child get acquainted with a few staff members ahead of time too, so they can look for a familiar face when they arrive.

Send them with some comforts from home

Whether they’re staying overnight or just heading out for the day, send your son or daughter with a few comforts from home. Depending on their age, you might think about packing a favorite stuffed animal or blanket. For older kids, you can pack a snack that they love to eat when they’re at home. These small items can really soothe nerves.

Only speak positively about going to camp

Kids are highly receptive to Mom and Dad’s emotions, which means that you need to be strictly positive about the idea of camp, even if you’re feeling nervous yourself. If your son or daughter suspects that you have any negative emotions associated with their departure, they’ll begin to panic. It might be hard, but make it a point to put aside any of your own anxiety about sending your child off for the first time and talk brightly and positively about camp.

Also, remember that it might take a few days for your little one to get adjusted at camp. If they come home (or call) that first day and aren’t happy, encourage them to give it another day or so. Once they get into a routine and make friends, they’ll probably love it and won’t want to leave.

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