Helping Children Cope with Leaving for Camp

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http://riverwayranchcamp.com/ | For a young child, going to camp for the first time can be a daunting experience. The following presentation outlines how to help children cope when they leave for camp.

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PowerPoint Presentation:

It is common for children to feel nervous, fearful, or homesick when leaving for camp for the first time. Similar to adults who approach new situations, children can feel apprehensive about the unknown since they don’t know what to expect. Usually, with each passing day, children feel more comfortable with their new surroundings. There are techniques and approaches you can take to help children cope.

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Focus on the fun activities that lie ahead and get your child excited about their new adventure. Think of things that you can shop for together to prepare for the trip, and let your child pick out gear and new things to bring to camp. This enhances the positive feelings surrounding the trip and builds excitement.

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It is important to keep your child feeling confident about their upcoming experience. You don’t want to instill any feelings of uncertainty with comments such as “I hope you’ll have a nice time” or “I hope you’ll be okay,” because then your child believes there’s a chance things won’t be okay. Children pick up on these comments and think something negative might happen, and it will make them miss home.

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Let your child know that while homesickness and nervousness is normal, they can write you letters, share their feelings with counselors and friends, and think about all the good things that camp offers to help ease their worry. Giving a child pre-stamped and pre-addressed envelopes further encourages this coping strategy. You can also remind them that you can work out a phone schedule for chats, if available.

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For children who aren’t used to being away from home at all, it can help to have a practice run. A two or three-day stay with relatives or a friend can help them prepare for what it is like to not have you around. They will gain exposure to the idea that activities away from home can be equally safe and fun. They will also get used to the idea that you will always be there to come and pick them up once it’s time to come home.

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If possible, take the opportunity to introduce your child to campers and counselors. If you are there with your child as they meet these new people, they will eventually feel more comfortable with you not around. This extra step will help make all the difference when your child is adjusting to the new environment.

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The experience will run much more smoothly when your child has all of the essentials to feel prepared for any situation. At the same time, it’s equally important to pack a little piece of home. Packing a picture, a favorite pillow or blanket, or even a special trinket can help calm their nerves and make the time away feel a little more comfortable.

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It is important that your child doesn’t feel like they will be picked up and removed from camp at the first sign of discomfort. When a back-up is already in place, it can make a child think you aren’t confident in their ability to be alone and sets an expectation that they won’t like it. Having a back-up plan can also encourage a child to run away from the situation rather than feeling they can overcome their negative feelings to ultimately have a great new experience.

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River Way Ranch Camp is a California summer camp for young campers and teens. Located in the foothills of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, a qualified staff of camp counselors and other professionals ensure your camper has a safe, educational, and special experience. Our roster of activities includes horseback riding, sports, paintball, and the use of digital technology. Website : http://riverwayranchcamp.com / Phone: 1-800-821-2801

Sources:

Sources http://www.campparents.org/new-thinking-needed-helping-kids-avoid-or-cope-homesickness

Summary:

Summary Camp is a great experience for building independence and social skills that will be applied throughout life. Negative feelings are common for a child when they approach new and uncharted territory, but these feelings can be eased with a little planning. Taking the steps outlined will make a scary experience more enjoyable and your child will soon be counting down the days until the next time they get to go away to camp.

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