By Robyn B. Engelson
Summer always comes upon us so quickly. Many questions go through our head. What am I going to do with my child? What summer camp am I sending them to? What interests does my child have? Any new interests? Does my child want to try new activities? What’s my summer camp budget? Summer camps fill up quickly and you don’t want your child to be left out – start planning!
Recognizing you and your child are on a journey together to grow, learn and experience all stages of life is key to parenting. Realizing this will help you prepare yourself and your child for a separation such as summer camp.
The bigger question is, “Who is going through separation anxiety, me or my child?”
Finding opportunities to give your child independence in safe, structured surroundings is a great way to decrease separation anxiety. The camp environment is a perfect opportunity for a healthy separation.
Separation is natural and necessary. Do you remember your baby’s first walk and your child’s first day of school? These are important memories you and your child successfully encountered. Each separation builds your child’s confidence for the next challenge.
When choosing a summer camp for your child, be sure you are selecting a camp that matches your child’s interest, age, location, and style. Summer camps offer:
• Multiple sports and activities
• Coed or same sex
• Different age groups
• Varying lengths of stay
• Numerous locations
Consider camp as a learning experience
Camp is an opportunity for a child to explore a world bigger than his/her neighborhood and a chance for parent and child to practice “letting go.” Letting go allows children to develop autonomy and a stronger sense of self, make new friends, develop new social skills, learn about teamwork, and be creative.
Prepare for camp together
Decisions about camp — where to go and what to pack – should be a joint venture, keeping in mind your child’s maturity. If your child feels a part of the decision-making process, the chances of having a positive experience will improve.
Talk about concerns
As the first day of camp nears, some children experience uneasiness about going away. Talk about these feelings. Communicate confidence in his/her ability in dealing with being away from home.
Have realistic expectations
Camp, like the rest of life, has high and low points. Every moment is not filled with wonder and excitement. Encourage your child to have a realistic view of camp. Discuss both the ups and downs your child may encounter. Make sure your child does not feel pressured to succeed at camp. For your child, the main purpose of camp is to relax and have fun.
Keep in mind, you are preparing yourself and your child for a positive summer camp experience.
For more summer camp information, contact Robyn B. Engelson, Owner, Camp Solutions. Robyn specializes in overnight summer camps and helps families find the right camp for their child with her FREE summer camp referral service. There is NO cost to you, parent or child, for this service.