Hello again, Camp Preppers!
Continuing our Tips and Advice posts on Mondays throughout April, today I’m offering more words concerning the involvement of your soon-to-be-camper in the planning stages of summer camp. A few weeks ago, I introduced the topic, explaining the importance in planning WITH your kid. Last week I discussed ways to solidify the length of a camp stay in your camper’s mind.
Instead of offering tips of what to do, today I’m going to give advice on a couple of things NOT to do.
As noted in their preparatory guidebook, ‘The Summer Camp Handbook,’ Doctors Chris Thurber and Jon Malinowski acknowledge that life outside of summer camp carries on without skipping a beat. Sometimes horrible, traumatic things occur whether we want them to or not. Other things may occur that aren’t horrible or traumatic but result in giant changes nonetheless.
Often times, these sort of things don’t really happen within our control. But, if you CAN avoid moving in the weeks prior to camp—or especially DURING—this is definitely the better choice. Making new friends at camp and getting used to new surroundings can be stressful, but camp relieves these concerns as kids quickly see how easy it is to make friends and have fun there.
However, with the stress of having to make new friends and get used to new surroundings all over again, this compound stress is likely to cloud a child’s ability to relax and enjoy themselves at camp. If moving CANNOT be avoided, make sure to introduce your kid to as much of the new place as possible. Show pictures, take visits, talk, talk, talk!
It’s important to keep your child apprised of other traumatic things as well such as leaves for military service, marital separation, or a serious illness or even death of a close friend or family member. Homesickness is liable to result from such challenging disruptions, however, a straightforward and honest approach about such topics will help reduce their feelings of worry and uncertainty.
Keep in mind for these unavoidable situations, the fewer worries kids have to deal with at camp—the better time they’re going to have at camp. Tune in next week to learn about the proper attitude to have concerning summer camp. As always, thanks for reading.