Apr 2, 2015 9:51:40 GMT -5
Post by ACADEMY FACULTY [INACTIVE] on Apr 2, 2015 9:51:40 GMT -5
PREPARING FOR SUMMER CAMP: AVOID PROBLEMS BY ANTICIPATING THEM
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How to prepare a first-timer for life at camp
Going to camp for the first time should be celebrated by you and your child, not feared. It's an exciting time where children will get to explore new interests, build new skills, make friends and learn from mentors. But anything new may require some getting used to. Here are some ways to ease your child into camp:
- Help kids understand what's involved, discuss the activities, review the routine.
- Share memories and stories from your camping days or when you spent time away from home doing something special.
- Talk about the fun things and adventures ahead.
- Help your child have realistic expectations; as in their daily lives at home, not every moment will be action-packed and there will be ups and downs.
If your child is heading to overnight camp for the first time:
- Get your child to help with the packing, so he or she can keep track of belongings. Not sure what to pack? Take a look at our packing list.
- Attending sleepovers is good practice for overnight camp.
- Encourage independence (making the bed, tidying up toys, etc.).
- Explain what to do with dirty laundry and wet bathing suits.
- Prepare them for bedtime away from home: Encourage them to take along a favorite stuffed toy or book to help them get to sleep.
Beating the Blues
Being homesick is a natural, healthy emotion that many children and adults experience from time to time. Camp staff are trained and know how to deal with homesickness, but you can better prepare your children by reassuring them that they have your support as they cope with their feelings:
- Help them to understand and trust that those feelings will pass as they get involved in camp life.
- Reassure your child that it's likely and okay to miss home at some point.
- Explain what homesickness feels like. (You could feel lonely, or like you have a tummy ache.)
- Discuss what to do when feeling homesick. (Talk to a counsellor, seek out a friend, write a letter home.)
- Encourage your child not to withdraw from what's happening around camp when he or she is feeling down, but rather to join in and be part of daily activities.
- Pack brief notes of encouragement for your child to open and read while away.
- Send a family photo or other small favourite possession along with your child.
- Write your child while they are at camp. Remember that it will likely take a few days to a week, so it is often best to send a letter or package even before they leave for camp.
While your child is away:
- Send a couple of fun, and funny, letters (or e-mails, if available and acceptable at camp).
- Send a modest care package.
- Respect the camp's visiting rules; some camps do not allow parents to visit while camp is on.
- Trust the camp you have researched and chosen to look after your child, it is their job.
- Telephone constantly or send countless letters and e-mails.
- Unpack for your child if you drive to camp; give him or her the space and independence to get settled in.
- Go overboard in sending elaborate packages.
- Worry if they haven't written; it likely means they're having fun.