Wendy Siegel (Director, Tyler Hill Camp)
Mindy Jacobs (Director, Timberlake Camp)
Big day ahead! Your son or daughter is soon to meet all of the kids with whom s/he’ll be spending the summer!
Here are 7 tips to help your camper nail their first camp get together:
- Don’t OVERSELL the day by putting too much pressure on your child to “make a best friend” or “make ten friends”. The day can be overwhelming on its own, and your extra pressure only adds to it.
- If your child is anxious or nervous, that’s OKAY!! It’s normal! Most kids feel butterflies before their first get-together.
- Encourage your son or daughter to go in with a POSITIVE attitude of “I’m going to have fun.” And remind your child to SMILE at the other kids s/he meets!
- DO call the camp director ahead of time if you want specific details for how the event will go, etc. Lots of kids do better with a clear vision of what exactly to expect.
- DON’T “stick around” and watch your child integrate if the event is a drop-off. Your camp directors and the staff they bring in to help for the day are professionals…they’ve got this. If your child knows you’re just around the corner or peeking in the window, s/he may keep looking back at you for reassurance (or worse yet come to you with questions or nerves or tears), thus taking away from the experience.
- If your child has food allergies or dietary restrictions, make sure you find out ahead of time what is being served and if necessary, send your child with his or her own food to mimic what will be at the event.
- RELAX!!! IF your son or daughter gets back in your car after and is disappointed or didn’t connect or didn’t have fun or or or, it’s OKAY. It doesn’t mean that you chose the wrong camp, or the other kids aren’t nice, or the camp doesn’t know what they’re doing…. Pick up the phone and call the camp director the next week and have an open conversation. Most directors will then suggest that you make one on one “playdates” so your child can get to know other new campers in a less overwhelming setting.