Going to camp for the first time can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience for children. It’s natural for them to feel anxious about leaving home for an extended period of time. Here are some tips to help your child cope with anxiety and have a positive experience at camp:
- Talk to the camp director. Find out how the camp addresses homesickness. Have the camp director and your child talk so your child will know them and can ask questions.
- Focus on all the good things about camp: talk to your child in an excited way about what they will be doing at camp and what they will learn over their time at camp. Remember: camp is all about learning new things and meeting new people, all of which can build a child’s confidence.
- Make it clear to your child that you understand that being away from home can be difficult in the beginning, but also show that you are confident your child can make a successful transition. Kids often pick up anxiety from parents. If you are anxious, they probably will be, too!
- Encourage your child to bring something that will remind them of home: a note from mom and dad, a picture of the family, or some kind of transitional object to comfort them during anxious times.
- Keep the goodbyes short. Whether you are saying good-bye at the bus or taking your child to camp and walking away, don’t linger. Most campers start mingling with other kids within moments of your departing.
- Have your child read “Notes from the Camp Bunk: A Guide for First-time Campers from a Camper” by Eden Martin. Eden is still a camper herself and she wrote this book because she knew others were nervous about going away. This book is sure to make your child feel more at ease about any unsettling feelings about going away to camp. Eden answers all the questions a child has about what camp is like. This book can be found on Amazon: https://a.co/d/6ikuWTP. A portion of all sales of this book goes to “Project Morry,” an organization that empowers young people from under-resourced communities to reach their potential.
For more ways to prepare for a successful summer, check out our blog on “Tips for a Successful Camp Experience”: https://www.tipsontripsandcamps.com/blog/tips-for-a-successful-camp-experience/