So, your kid is going to camp this summer… you might need some help.
I am a veteran camper going back for my 8th, and sadly, final year at my sleep away camp. I am the oldest of the Jones family coming to you with my debut article on BTP!
You have now made the fateful decision to send your child to his or her first summer at sleepaway camp – fantastic; however, you may have already made a few mistakes that will make leaving the nest a tad bit harder for your little camper. I’m here to help!
Parent Do’s and Dont’s:
DON’T: “I’m gonna miss you!” – NEVER! The four worst words you can say to your son or daughter. Sure it’s nice to know your mother misses you, but then they’ll overthink leaving, and it all goes downhill from there. I know because my mom, Chrissy, made this mistake. She couldn’t help herself from saying how much she was going to miss me and I had a very rough first few weeks because of it so please just don’t! Keep it to yourself.
DO: “You’re gonna have a wonderful time!” – Make sure your son or daughter knows that YOU want them to have an amazing time. It is so important that you stress this because they need to know that they’re there for a reason. This is the ultimate “homesick” cure!
DON’T: CRY DURING DROP OFF! – If there is ever a time for you to keep those emotions in check, this is it! Crying during drop off at the airport or bus stop makes your new camper embarrassed and homesick. I’ve seen the emotional mama bear routine with the first time families year after year and it is absolutely the worst! It takes those campers most of the trip up to camp to calm down and compose themselves. That’s not a fun way to enter camp!
DO: Seem excited for them to leave: – If your son or daughter sees you being excited for them, then they will be way better off once they arrive. For the entire week before leaving, have an upbeat attitude about camp: remind them about the sports, games, good food, fun they will have. How much better camp will be than school…They will remember that you were happy for them to be there, and I can guarantee they will be much happier, which makes the counselors’ lives much easier as well.
DON’T: CALL THEM AFTER YOU SAY GOODBYE: – From experience, I know a phone call throws you off “your game” as us older campers call it. Please do not call your child after you say goodbye because they will grow homesick and beg you to bring them home. It makes the older campers frustrated and especially the stressed out counselor!
If you really want your son or daughter to have the easiest transition into camp, please keep these suggestions top of mind for they may just make them embrace it even more. Also remember, “homesickness” is not a real sickness, and it’s completely normal, so if your child is begging you to pick him or her up… don’t even think about it. Just know that your child is not the first to catch this mythical plague. Camp is wonderful and encourage your kids to embrace it because time flies, and the end of an eight year career is gone in a flash.