Tips and Tools for
First Time Campers
Leaving Home Can be Scary
Leaving home for the first time – without your parents – is a big developmental step. It’s normal to worry about missing mom and dad and the routines of home, especially at bedtime.
To help your child get ready for overnight camp, first listen well to all their worries and then assure them that a little homesickness is normal at the beginning. It helps to hear that it happens to lots of people!
How to Help Your New Camper Feel Better About Camp
Help them figure out a few strategies in advance – like bringing pictures of family to look at, or maybe counting down days on a calendar. Reassure them that they will make new friends at camp, and that their counsellors will be there to cheer them up when they feel a little homesick, and that you have full confidence in them.
It also helps to involve them as much as possible in getting ready for camp – from camp shopping, labelling stuff and packing, to practicing new skills, like showering instead of taking a bath, or swimming in a lake.
Why It’s Important to Keep Your Own Worries Private
Keep your own fear and worries private – it may be hard for you to feel good about letting go, but they need to hear that you’re okay with this change, and that you’re 100% confident that they’ll thrive at camp. The support you’ll give your child before camp will make the world of difference to their successful adjustment to camp.
Talk to parents who’ve experienced the camp transition. That can help calm some of your worries. They survived this transition – and so will you!