As overnight summer camp draws closer, it is normal for most kids to feel a little nervous about leaving home.
First-time and younger campers are more prone to feeling anxious about camp, but you might also find that even your experienced camper demonstrates some hesitation.
While we all know that every summer camper is going to have the time of their life this season, you also need to let your child know that their emotions are valid.
These tips will help you soothe your nervous camper and get them excited about the adventures that lie ahead.
Show Them How You Can Communicate
Your child may be worried about being unable to reach you whenever they want. Reassure your child that our staff will always let them call you in an emergency.
We also encourage you and your child to communicate through our Bunk1 email system. Show them what the stationery looks like and how you can send notes each day online.
You can also still send handwritten letters the old-fashioned way. With multiple ways to communicate, your child never has to worry about letting you know how camp is going.
Fill Them In On the Details
Kids often fear the unknown. Your child may be wondering what they will eat or where they will sleep.
Avoid talking about summer camp using vague language. Instead, share specific details such as that they will share their cabin with around 8 campers and a counselor.
You can also show them things such as a sample menu on our website so that they have a better idea of what to expect.
Set Exciting Goals
Most kids go to camp to make friends and enjoy new experiences that they can’t get at home.
Setting goals together gives you a chance to talk about the highlights of summer camp. Your child may decide that this is the summer when they will finally learn how to waterski. They can also set a goal to learn how to play a new instrument or win a competition.
Shop Together for Summer Camp Supplies
Kids feel better when they they know that they have what they need to be comfortable somewhere new.
While your child doesn’t need to bring much to summer camp, getting organized can help them to feel ready for the big day.
Consider shopping for a new duffel bag to hold their gear, or find the perfect swimsuit for swimming in the lake. Having some camp supplies at home helps your child begin to feel prepared to leave for Adventure Island.
Start a Journal
Journaling is a great outlet for your child’s emotions. Help them pick out a journal, and encourage them to make a pre-camp entry.
Writing about their worries helps them to let their anxiety out, and listing a few goals helps them to feel more excited about the future.
Your child can then bring their journal to camp, where they can continue to write about their adventures. By the end of the summer, they’ll enjoy looking at how far they came with overcoming their anxiety.
The Excitement of Opening Day
Remember that nervousness may come and go over the upcoming weeks. Be sure to check in with your child regularly, and continue to address their concerns.
Soon, you can both look forward to the opening day of summer camp, when kids are so focused on fun that they’ll wonder why they were ever worried in the first place!