You registered them in the middle of winter thinking you’d have more than enough time to get prepared, but now the start of summer camp is around the corner and…well…you’re both feeling a bit unsettled.
Rest assured those feelings are completely normal— especially if this is your child’s first time away from home. Thankfully, with the right combination of positivity and planning, you can ease your own mind and help make their first summer camp experience one to remember.
PROS OF SUMMER CAMP
First and foremost, it’s important to remember why you thought camp was a good idea in the first place!
The upsides of summer camp are many. From developing leadership and social skills to building confidence and spending active time outdoors, camp is a unique ecosystem for kids to learn and grow outside the classroom.
In fact, a University of Waterloostudy of both day campers and overnight campers found that 69% of participants showed positive growth in the area of emotional intelligence, while 67% displayed growth in the areas of self confidence and personal development.
Speak to any summer camp alumni and chances are they’ll tell you how their most beloved memories and cherished life experiences are tied to their childhood summer camp.
Still, even with all its benefits, the prospect of putting your kids on a bus and sending them away for weeks or even days at a time can be daunting for everyone involved.
You may find yourself asking: Will they be well taken care of? Are they going to be homesick? Will they shower and eat properly? These questions are perfectly valid and likely go through the mind of every parent in your shoes.
If you or your child are feeling a bit anxious in the lead-up to camp, the below tips may help:
PREPARING YOUR KIDS
From nurturing independence to fostering physical activity, there are endless benefits to a summer spent at camp. By following the above steps, you can help ensure this summer is a successful one for the whole family.
Lindsay Ross, MSW RSW, is a clinical social worker in private practice in Toronto, Ontario.