Not only is summer camp a good option for keeping kids busy, active and learning over the summer after school has wrapped up, but it could also set positive habits for the rest of their lives. Psychologists have found that sending kids to summer camp may make them less affected by stress as they mature. Camp helps kids form new relationships with new friends and learn from different adults. They learn to cope with unfamiliar situations and learn handle the unexpected. But sometimes experiencing a large shift in routine takes a bit of getting used to. Help make the transition smoother with these tips for preparing your child for summer camp:
Make a checklist
With so many things to remember, especially if your child is heading to overnight camp, it’s good to write everything down. Most camps offer their own checklists so that parents know exactly what to pack. Make sure you get this ahead of time, or write out your own if the camp doesn’t have one available. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to go out and buy any missing must-haves.
Include your child in the packing process
Often, kids feel less stressed about change when they know the fine details. Allowing your little one to help you pack can give them some added insight into what’s going on. That way, they’ll feel involved and know exactly what’s coming with them and what to expect.
Buy special camp supplies
Anything shiny and new will add to the thrill of summer camp. Maybe that means a new swimsuit or a brand new backpack in their favorite color. Then, tell them they can use their new gear as soon as camp begins and have them hold off to add a bit of positive anticipation.
Get excited about camp!
The whole point of summer camp is to have fun, right? Make sure your little one knows this! Talk about all the new friends they’re going to make. Mention some of the cool activities they get to do (think swimming, games, crafts, etc.). Often, getting excited about something washes the jitters away for both the parents and the child.
When the drop-off date finally arrives, do it quickly like ripping off a band aid, even if they’re only headed to a day camp and you’ll see them that night. Waiting around can make too big of a deal out of your departure, giving them a chance to think about what’s happening and get nervous. Plus, if you stick around too long, they might pick up on the sense that you’re nervous too. Make it easier for both of you by dropping them off with a big smile and waving goodbye.
Still looking for the perfect fit for this summer? Search for a great one near you now!
-“Camp Prep” She Knows
-“Summer Camp Makes Kids Resilient” Psychology Today
-“Prepare Your Child and Yourself for Camp” American Camp Association
- Photo credit: United States Navy & Peter Blanchard