Get Your Kids Ready for Summer Camp
The first day of summer camp is just around the corner! Camp not only provides opportunities for personal growth and new friendships but also an outside-of-the-house structure. Sending your child to camp for the first time can be a little intimidating for them. Parents want their children to get the confidence and independence that camp gives them, but they still worry about the first days. During the months before camp, take time to talk about what your child might expect, including the following:
- Remind your child that everyone at camp wants to make a new friend.
- Spend time on the camp’s website, Instagram and Facebook pages. Seeing other campers having fun in photos or videos will help your child envision him or herself doing the same. This is a great way to show them exactly what they can expect when they get to camp.
- Ask the camp director for the daily schedule your child’s group will be following.
- When you drop your child off, try to make your exit quick and positive. Offer smiles, not tears.
- Look through all the activities your child can choose from. Make sure your child understands what each activity is, and that trying new things is part of the fun.
- Encourage them to ask about anything that seems confusing or concerning. If you cannot answer them, call the camp for the answers and report back. Correct and accurate information soothes uncertainty.
- Ask them positive, leading questions like “What are you most excited about?” “What activity would you like to try?” “What do you think your counselors will be like?” Questions like these will help put your child’s attention on the positive aspects of camp.
- Build excitement by shopping for camp supplies together. Let your child pick out a new lunchbox, a water bottle, a swimsuit, or a flashlight that will be special to them. This way they will look forward to using it at camp.
- If there isn’t a meal plan at camp or your child has allergies you should consider creating a daily lunch schedule and choose easy recipes you can make together. Check out MyWish4u Mealtime Notes for fun ideas.
- Connect with other families before camp begins who have kids also attending the same camp.
- When your child makes friends at camp invite them over for swimming, a play date or an art activity.
- What to say to nervous kids: Acknowledge their feelings while remaining positive. Kids need specific details to feel comfortable and confident. Tell them they’re going to love camp. But it can be helpful to find out exactly what your child is nervous about—whether it’s changing into a bathing suit, how to make new friends, or when to ask a counselor if they need something.
- Add a MyWish4U lunch note to their lunch or backpack with a fact and a joke to share with friends at the lunch table. You can also add a funny doodle or encouraging words on the blank side.
With the right preparation, your child can have a great camp experience — and may even want to return next summer. The first summer camp experience is a great gift for your child. He or she will grow in important and noticeable ways while having a blast. It’s important for their confidence, independence and your relationship. Let the fun stories at the dinner table begin!