Preparing Your Kid for Summer Camp

Summer is in full swing, bringing a shifted schedule, hectic days, and a whole lot of fun. For many parents of young children, this season may mark an important milestone: the first time sending the kids off to sleepaway camp. A few weeks away from home is a pretty big deal, so it’s important that you help set your child up for success. 

Read the mood. First, know thy child. If you have a super independent kiddo who’s been begging to go to Rod’s Rockin’ Rock Climbing Camp for years, you probably don’t need to have too deep of a conversation before then – in fact, overdoing it may bring them more anxiety. Just have a quick chat about what they’re looking forward to, and send them on their way! If your child is used to lots of “mommy time,” read on…

Set the tone. Camp is exciting! Before delving into any fears, act as a one-person hype man. Share memories (or even photos) of your own camp experiences, compliment your kid on how good they are at making friends, and generally manifest some good energy. A little anticipation can go a long way in helping your kid set aside worries. 

Listen. Though you may be eager to hop on the flight to your own getaway, give your kid some space to vent. Depending on how fretful and verbose your child is, there may be a lot of questions. Don’t get overwhelmed. The most important thing you can do is listen and offer encouragement. Then, end on a high note and turn the conversation back to the camp’s events and activities you know they’re already excited about!

Set a check-in schedule. Remind your child that you’ll be thinking of them the whole time, and if they need it, make a few promises about how often they’ll be hearing from you. We know you’ve got your own grown-up vacation planned, but a care package or two may help the whole thing go smoother.

Do your due diligence. Even the most independent child will be a little anxious on day one. Make sure drop-off and pick-up go smoothly by keeping track of the camp’s schedule and expectations. Most summer camps will publish their own packing lists, and some have blogs where parents of past campers can share their experiences. Finally, make sure to be aware of any medical policies that may be relevant to your child! 

Camp is an exciting time, and your kid is sure to make lots of friends, many memories, and learn a thing or two along the way. The best you can do as a parent is support them in the lead-up. A fair warning – when camp is over, your kid will be talking about it for weeks 😊

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