Summer is here and it is a great time to enroll your child in a summer camp. There are all types of summer camps available from STEM learning camps, to sports camps, to band camp! There are also half day camps, day camps, and overnight summer camps. Kids can learn so much in summer camp and it is a great for the child to branch out and gain a little independence while learning new skills or honing already existing talents. Sometimes the mom and/or the child may need a little help preparing mentally for summer camp. Not to worry, I have nationally-renowned parenting expert and founder of GIT Mom (Get It Together, Mom!) to share with you how to prepare your child for summer camp.
Through GIT Mom’s 7-step method, Eirene empowers mothers and mothers-to-be by teaching a “mom-first” parenting approach. As a mom of three boys, Eirene has experienced the same overwhelm and anxiety many mothers first feel with their children. She uses her firsthand experiences to be a mom motivator and parenting champion. A summer camp checklist is an important part of getting kids ready for camp but so is preparing yourself and your child mentally for camp. Here are some great tips to get the family summer camp ready.
How To Mentally Prepare Your Child For Summer Camp (And Yourself!)
By Eirene Heidelberger, Founder, GIT Mom
This week marks the official start to summer! Summer day camp is a great way to keep structure during a time when kids can go off the rails with their routine, and create problems getting back into their usual back-to-school setup.
Whether your child is already into their first or second summer activity, camp, or class or they’re just getting ready to start, here are a few tips to help the whole family transition into this new season:
Preparing Your Kids For Summer Camp!
To prepare your child for summer camp, communicate with your kids well in advance of the start date of camp and empathize the following aspects:
It’s Gonna Be Fun!
Summer camp gives kids exposure to tons of new experiences, and connections to new people and friends. Every day is different and your child will be exposed to brand new, age appropriate activities that vary week to week. To keep things interesting, many camps do things like weekly themes. Some parents have told me their kids’ camps have Aloha! and Tie Dye days filled with silly and fun activities like hula hooping in grass skirts and making rainbow tees. Get your kids excited about this!
It’s Gonna Be Hot!
Tell your kids they’re going to be hot and sweaty and dirty and that it’s okay! Remind them to drink lots of water and eat during the meal and snack times. They will need their energy.
They’re Gonna Make Different Friends Every Day
Summer camp friends come and go. Day camp offers families flexibility to work around their summer schedule and vacation plans. So warn your kids that their new BBF one day, may not be the same the next. If this happens, explain that they should celebrate the fun they did have together and that there will be more fun times ahead with new friends.
Preparing The Parents For Summer Camp!
Let’s face it, you need as much help getting your head around the new routine of summer camp too. Here are some tips to remember:
It’s Dirty! Deal With It!
Your kids are going to come home sweaty and smelly and maybe even looking like Pigpen from Charlie Brown! It may turn the family car into a mess too but, if you think about it, it’s exactly what you want to see because it means your kids were engaged, participating, and having lots of fun. Just make sure your kid is wearing sunscreen with SPF 50 or above. In our home we apply lotion after teeth are brushed, and if we are running late we use spray as we are running to meet the bus.
It’s A Job!
Don’t freak out when you’re greeted by an eager teenager who doesn’t look much older than your kid! Your child’s camp counsellor will most likely be wearing shorts and a tie dye t-shirt, and look like she’s been having her own kind of summer fun. Camp counsellors are young, but being a camp counsellor is a job for which they’ve been fully trained. Still, ask questions – of the camp organizers, your friends and other parents – before you enroll your kids. You must feel comfortable with who you are leaving your kids with.
Anxiety Is Normal
Your kid may feel anxious or scared showing up and having to make a whole new set of friends. Be direct and ask your child if they’re nervous starting camp. The best way to support your child is to be positive and say, “It’s normal to feel worried trying something new.” Alternatively you could say “Take your time getting used to camp and new friends because I know you’ll have so much fun, and by the end of the week you’ll never want to come home.”
Stock Up On Energy Snacks!
Finally, be prepared with a snack and some cold water when you kid comes home. Their bodies have worked hard, and they’ve most likely been yelling and screaming cheering their camp mates on, and they need sustenance to acclimate back to your quiet home. In our home, we use this as an opportunity to connect with our kids and talk about their days. It’s a wonderful way to bond.
Chin up, it’s summer time! I hope these tips on how to prepare your child for summer camp are helpful to you. What kind of summer camp is your child attending?