Summer is around the corner, so parents have already started enrolling their kids in sleepaway camps. If you decided to do the same this year, welcome to the club of crazy parents. Yes, you are not the only overwhelmed parent here. Sending children to the summer camp for the first time is another milestone of parenthood. The worse thing is that you don’t know what to expect. You might feel anxious about the whole idea, even though you know that the well-trained teachers will supervise your kids in the camp. To overcome your fears, you can learn more about it and mentally prepare (especially if you have never been in the summer camp yourself).
Sleepaway camps can benefit your kids in many ways. First of all, it will teach them independence; they will finally be able to make their own decisions. Of course, camp counselors will make sure all kids are safe and fed. However, your angels will be responsible for combing their hair, brushing teeth, and bathing. If you think that your kids aren’t ready for this, you can test them. All you need to do is to stop reminding them to eat and shower and then see what comes next. If your kids turn into ‘monkeys’ after a couple of hours, have a talk with them. You should explain that mom and dad will not be around in the camp and that from now on, they should take care of themselves without reminders.
Secondly, summer camp is an excellent possibility to learn how to build relationships with children who come from varying backgrounds. Your kids might hang out with someone you wouldn’t accept, but let them do it anyway. It is the way for them to improve their social skills and learn more about the world.
If you want your kids to keep learning during the summer, enroll them in the camp based on interests. They will not notice a “science part” if camp counselors prepare a lot of fun activities such as disco, sand and water play, sports, arts, and crafts.
The first and most crucial step is to make a checklist. Resist the temptation to pack the bags all by yourself. Let your kids choose what to wear in the summer camp and try to prevent overpacking. Don’t be surprised if they wear the same clothes for days.
Anyway, you should let them participate in the process, so, later on, they will not call you every day asking about their underwear.
If you don’t want to get nervous once your kids are back, don’t let them take expensive things or a large sum of money to the summer camp. Also, encourage them to leave all the devices at home in order to do a digital detox. Nowadays a lot of kids are obsessed with social media and electronics, so taking a break from it wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Some parents behave worse than kids when the sleepaway camps start. They can’t get used to the fact that their children will be totally fine without parental guidance. Be ready that your angels will not call you every day. It’s not because they don’t love you or don’t miss you. They just have a lot of fun making friends, learning, exploring a new area, and participating in the activities.
That’s why you shouldn’t cry your eyes out, call three times a day or visit them every week. Some kids need this kind of supervision, but if you clearly see that your children are different, let them go.
Your kids should know that they can call or text you anytime they want. Also, tell them that you can come and take them back home in case they don’t like the place.
There is one thing you should know as a parent who sends kids to the summer camp for the first time. Most probably, your kids will lose some weight. It’s not because they are not eating there; summer camps involve a lot of activities, including sports, games, and spending time outdoors. That’s why you shouldn’t worry about it. Kids will gain weight when they come back home to their classes and devices.
Once your kids are in the summer camp, take a few days off and do something you’ve wanted for a long time. Don’t feel guilty for having a great time without kids. They enjoy themselves so much in the camp, so you can do the same at home. Feel free to have a vacation when your kids aren’t around. You deserve to relax and also enjoy ‘me’ time.
The Final Words
Deep down in your heart, you know that summer camp is a great idea. Your kids will have so much fun learning and meeting new people. Be there for them, but don’t be overprotective and let kids learn from their own mistakes and become better people.