Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Picking a Summer Camp

So you have selected the Best Overnight Summer Camp for your child. You did all the research and had your child help in the selection. Yet, preparing for camp involves more than just packing their clothes in a suitcase. You want to be sure that your kid is emotionally prepared for this Summer Camp Adventure.

As parents we want to talk about this amazing thing called camp yet don't do to much of it. Preparing your child is a delicate balance. Kids may seem to loose a sense of reality, and his expectations and fantasies may never be met, leading to disappointment, so be careful not to overdo your chats. In addition, kids could focus on their anxieties so much that it's overwhelming, leading to increased homesick. So if you have a long lead time till camp starts, occasionally bring it up and then in April or May make it a higher priority. As You receive pre-camp brochures and information from camp, share these with your children.

Talking about Summer Camp: Children have incredible radar, and can easily feel your concerns and fears. Carefully select the words you use when talking about camp. Be sure to visit your local library to pick up books and movies about summer camp. Sure, many of these have exaggerated storylines they can produce good conversation. Watch or read them together.

Your child should believe that camp is a fun experience and that is why you have chosen it, so be careful what you might say. Never use camp as a threat or in anger. Do not seem like you're counting the days until your child leaves for camp, even in fun. These words can linger longer than you think, and it will confuse your child about what camp is supposed to be.

Some Dos * Meet the camp director before camp begins.

* Arrange a play date with another camper before camp.

* Do try and arrange a play date with a fellow camper before camp. If this is not possible, try and establish a link through mail, e-mail, or phone.

* Do continue to have short separations, such as sleepovers with family and friends for good practice.

* Encourage verbalizing concerns, regardless of how silly. Many can be easily resolved.

* Talk to an fellow camper about the program. He or she can tell you what you will really need to know and what kids really wear, and do at camp.

Some Don'ts: * Minimize change as camp comes close. Keep things as normal as possible, especially in the time close to the first day.

*Family vacation just prior to camp are not a great idea. Be home for a few days prior to camp. This provide the comfort of a normal routine.

* Don't let your child suspect you have concerns about his adjustment.

These are just a few ideas that can help you as you send your child to Summer Camp for the first time. To learn more be sure to visit Summer Camp Advice

About the author: Jeff Lorenz is the director of Swift Nature Camp a non-competitive, Wisconsin Summer Camp that offers a traditional summer camp for Boy and Girls ages 6-15. Campers enjoy camp activities as they learn at this Science Summer Camp.

1 comment:

Strongrock said...

It's important to visit the camp to make sure that the potential camper is comfortable with the environment and is willing to attend.

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