Summer camp is an exciting opportunity for a child to have fun, make new friends, and experience personal growth. However, as a parent, preparing your child for it may require some effort to ensure the best possible experience. Here are some tips from Adventures on the Hill to help you set positive expectations and prepare your child for their camp week(s).
Before selecting a camp, talk to your child about what they want to do during their summer break. Introduce the idea of summer camp and let your child know the benefits, such as meeting new friends, learning new things, and growing personally. Participating in decision-making helps your child feel a sense of control and ownership over attending summer camp. Highlight the activities your child would enjoy and let them know they can participate in these.
Sharing stories about your own camp experiences builds anticipation and excitement for kids. If you have pictures of yourself at camp, show them and tell your child how much fun you had. Tell them about the camp activities you enjoyed the most, what you learned, and how they helped you grow. You might be surprised at how excited your child becomes.
Before your child heads off to camp, there are things you can do together to help prepare them for the experience, like reading through our website and the handbook and looking through our galleries of pictures.
You can involve your child in preparing for camp by packing with them, reviewing the list of things that they need, and helping them choose what they take along.
You can also encourage your child to engage in journaling. Help them create a camp journal (or notebook) and write prompts such as “What activities did you enjoy today?” and “What did you learn?” Leave blank pages for them to add pictures of themselves with their new friends. You can also use journaling to have an open discussion about their feelings or anything else that comes up!
Talk about Homesickness
Homesickness is a normal valid emotion, especially when children transition to a new place. As a parent, you can reassure your child that feeling homesick is natural and that they are not alone. Talk to them about coping methods, like communicating their feelings to their counselors or other trusted adults. In most cases, they can help your child get involved in new activities and make new friends while leaving the homesick feelings behind.
Before heading off to summer camp, look at the daily schedule so your child knows what to expect each day. Preparing your child mentally helps them to be excited about the activities and gives them something to look forward to.
Summer camp provides an excellent opportunity for children to learn, be creative, and make new friends. However, it’s normal for parents and children to feel anxious when preparing for camp. At Adventures on the Hill, we suggest parents involve their children in decision-making while keeping a positive attitude about the experience.