Kids love the great adventure of attending a good sleepaway summer camp. They can meet new friends, build their self-esteem, and learn new skills, but parents oftentimes have a tough time sending their children out of their sight for a week or more for camp. It may be difficult to be excited and not nervous for them, but there are some great tips available for calming those nerves.
Give your child space to grow in the experience
An anxious parent can find plenty of reasons to worry as they send their child away to summer camp, and those worries can build upon one another and escalate pretty quickly. It can help tremendously to simply talk to your child. Metro Kids suggests that worried parents take a step back and break down what it is that is really making them anxious.
Sometimes it is easy to dismiss these anxieties with some additional information or a calm look at what is causing concern. For example, it may well be that a child will not eat to the same healthy standards as what you do at home or they may not change into every clean outfit you send for them. However, they will still likely enjoy their time and grow emotionally from the experience.
It can help a parent ease worries about summer camp by considering what the goals are for the experience. Oftentimes parents choose a sleepaway summer camp to give their kids a chance to become more independent and self-reliant, and this means letting go to a degree to give them the chance to do things their way.
Step back and trust that your child will do well
There is typically a mechanism for staying in touch with your child during camp. However, Today suggests trying to trust that your child is having fun even if you aren’t getting emails or pictures. Some camps do share a lot as camp progresses, but the Washingtonian says, it’s important not to read too much into any one photo that may make it look as if your child is struggling. Try to relax and know that you’ll get some fantastic stories from your child later.
As you try to give your child some space to enjoy summer camp, use this time to do something fun for yourself or for the rest of the family. Head out to do an activity or eat at a restaurant that your camper doesn’t typically enjoy, or utilize this time on your own to get a massage, a pedicure, or sit quietly at a coffee shop and read for a bit.
The separation is probably tougher on you than on your child
NY Metro Parents points out that for some families, the parents have a harder time saying goodbye than the kids when camp begins. Even if kids are hesitant as they begin camp, parents need to remain confident, trusting, and resolute that this will be a great experience and wonderful opportunity for growth.
It is important to manage your own anxieties about camp so your worries don’t create anxiety for your child. Stay positive and confident that they will have a great time, and trust that these healthy risks will allow your child to thrive. As Berkeley’s Greater Good notes, it can be challenging for parents to take the leap of faith that camp will be a good experience for their child, but the benefits for your camper can be amazing.
Trust in the legwork you did ahead of time
You will have done plenty of legwork in choosing this camp, working to find a balance between the cost of summer camp and the quality of the experience provided. You’ve asked questions about safety and training, and you know that your child will be making great friends and developing new skills. The overall camping experience provides an opportunity not only for your child to grow, but for you to grow as well if you can manage to step back and embrace the opportunity.