May is definitely the month we start to feel those pre-summer jitters in so many ways. Like you, we are so excited for the upcoming season and can’t wait to see all of your amazing camp and trip experiences. But, we have all been there: the nervousness before sending your child away is completely normal, and we are here to prep you for all the feelings that you and your family will experience.
It’s the number one question people ask: “How is my child going to be without me?” Our answer: they are going to have the time of their lives. But there are definitely steps to getting there. Talk with your child about being away from home and family; start the conversation if you feel they are avoiding it, or if they have voiced their concerns. Make sure they know how happy you will be for them to experience this time away, and how when the summer is finally over, they will actually be sad to leave camp! Also, take a look inwards. Make sure you and your family feel secure in the counselors taking care of your child (that’s what we’re here to find out with you!). When everyone feels excited about the summer, your child will feel it too. Assure them they will flourish, rather than remind them how soon you will see them – for visiting day, phone calls, etc. – to avoid them counting down to those days. When they do come around, you will be amazed to see how your child has grown! Everyone experiences homesick, even adults, and you can always call us to walk you through the process.
A super important part of any summer trip is that it brings people together. Today, we hear so many stories of bullying – and that is NOT what camp is about. Encourage your child to try new things, get into the team spirit, and make sure to include others. Camp and summer trips form bonds closer than many, and that is done by fostering an accepting and loving environment. Remind your child of the warm and fuzzy feeling you get at camp, and they will set an example for others.
For some, this may be the first time when your child is showing first signs of independence, which is exciting, and also scary! They are growing up! Counselors and trip leaders are there to ensure security for your child, but much of their summer experience is based on their choices. If they want to try water skiing, try out for the talent show, or make a new friend, that is up to them. Try not to pressure your child into doing thing you would like to do at camp (there is adult sleepaway camp for that!), but rather foster a conversation about new things they would like to try, and how best they can put themselves out there. Also, this might be a good time to practice making their bed, folding their clothes, and even brushing their teeth and tying their shoes, if they are new to that. All of this will be supervised and taught in the bunk, but prepping them never hurts! For older kids who may be traveling the country – or the world! – for the first time alone, have a conversation about safety, making good choices, and having street smarts. They are off on an amazing adventure that will cultivate this independence even more.
Sometimes we think of visiting day as the best day of the summer – you finally get to see your kiddos! – and sometimes it can be hard. Talk to your child about when you will come visit, but don’t rely so much on the countdown to seeing them. Instead, discuss how excited you are to see what they have accomplished at camp so far, meet their new friends and counselors, and do some fun activities. That way, it is more about a fun day at camp, with them leading the charge. Visiting day gifts are a fun thing to look forward to as well, so check back soon for our full guide :)
Most importantly by far, talk to your child about how. much. fun. they will be having this summer! They are about to embark on an amazing and cultivating journey, and you have given them that gift. It should be magical! If you went to camp, tell them stories of your best times, or times when you overcame a struggle. Those pre-summer jitters should be overwhelmingly exciting jitters rather than scared ones.
For more information reach out to us! We are always happy to talk through your questions.
Summer 365 Counselors