Advice for Parents Sending their Kids Off to Sleepaway Camp for the First Time

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It’s the end of June, and the day that you send your child to sleepaway camp for the first time is quickly approaching.  It’s completely normal for any parent to be anxious about the experience.  It’s your child’s first few weeks away from home, without mom or dad around to make sure everything is okay.  At the same time, it is also your child’s first taste of independence as they make memories with new friends.  Here is some advice for any anxious parent:

1. Trust the camp’s staff: The directors (who are usually parents themselves) and counselors understand your worries and will do everything they can to make sure that your child is safe during the summer.  You researched many camps and chose this one for a reason.  Maybe it’s not too far from home or a friend recommended it.  You wouldn’t leave your child with just anyone, so have faith in the people whose job it is to watch over your son or daughter.

2. Set a good example: Your child is just as nervous as you are.  Reassure them that they are ready for this new experience, and that you are just a phone call away if need be.  Don’t offer to pick them up if something goes wrong.  They need to learn and grow, whether that is for two weeks or for eight. If you stay positive, then they will have a more optimistic mindset too.  The first few days are the toughest, but by the end of the summer, they’ll be counting down the days until they can come back next year.

3. Use the camp’s social media wisely: Looking through the camp’s photos is a great way to see how your child is doing while you wait for the next letter to arrive.  However, use this tool wisely.  Your child will not be in every photo.  Plus, he or she could be smiling in one shot and have a serious face in the next.  It isn’t a reason to worry—every day, there is always a mix of good and bad moments.  Don’t refresh for new photos every hour either; have confidence that your child is having fun.

4. Use this time to relax: This is the short time of the year that you can take a break from parenting 24/7.  Distract yourself from worrying—read a book, see a movie, or catch up with friends.  The weeks pass by faster than you’d think.

Every parent of a child going to sleepaway camp for the first time is understandably concerned.  It’s a new experience for both you and your child.  Remember to stay positive and trust that everything will work out for the best.  Every camp is designed to keep you informed and ensure that your child is both safe and happy.  In just a few weeks, you’ll get to hear all of your kid’s great stories about camp at the dinner table.