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Summer is approaching, which for many children involves going to summer camps. They are conducive to making new friends and building awareness about the environment. They also teach independence and how to handle different situations. Whether you’re sending your child to summer camp for the first time or the next, it’s a good idea to prepare them for it

Generate excitement by involving your child in the preparations

Try to involve your child from the very beginning. Ask where he or she would like to go. Talk about the activities and experiences that await them. This can help create excitement about going to camp. This is a great way to ease anxiety.

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Visit the destination or look at the pictures

Anxiety is often caused by fear of the unknown. If a previous visit to the camp is not an option, look through the pictures and videos on the website with your child. Ask friends if their children also go to the same camp or summer camp. If so, your child will find it easier to get used to the new situation. By going in a group of friends, they will feel much more confident

How to deal with separation anxiety?

Ask friends or grandparents to have your child stay with them for a few nights. This will help your child get used to spending time apart and sleeping in a new place

If your child worries about being homesick, reassure him or her that this is a normal feeling. Tell her she can count on support from other participants and staff. If your child is particularly anxious about leaving, let the camp director know. Ask the counselors to pay special attention to them.

Take care of logistical issues

When choosing a camp or summer camp, try to match it to your child’s needs, personality and interests. What is the philosophy behind the trip? Some camps encourage competition, while others foster cooperation. Think about how your child feels about his busy schedule. Does it motivate him or, on the contrary, stress him out? Ask yourself, does he or she enjoy learning a variety of new skills (which traditional camps focus on), or does he or she prefer to hone one skill (dance, soccer, karate, tennis)?

Encourage your child to pack together

It’s never too early to start packing for a trip. Be sure to label the suitcase with your child’s name to avoid unnecessary confusion at camp. Pack plenty of extra socks, T-shirts, underwear and sunscreen. Don’t try to pack everything yourself, instead encourage your child to help you. That way they’ll know what to do when it’s time to go home

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Encourage independence

Camps and colonies encourage self-sufficiency. Try to foster your child’s independence ahead of time by encouraging him to help with household chores, such as making the bed, keeping things tidy, or packing things. By familiarizing him with such tasks, you make it easier for him to acclimate to the new place.

Talk to your child calmly

Camp is a very intense experience because your child spends 24 hours a day away from home. It is an exciting experience, so try to prepare your child accordingly. Discuss the upcoming events, addressing your child’s concerns and emphasizing his or her strengths. Talk to him about the things he has done well in the past year and explain how he can build on existing skills and learn new ones at camp. You can also talk about the problems he or she encountered and suggest ways to deal with them. Remember that such a trip has advantages and disadvantages. Stay calm instead of overwhelming with enthusiasm. Whatever you do, don’t tell your child how much you will miss him or her. Although it may be difficult for you, expressing your concerns will only make the whole situation more difficult.

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Lilliana Ross

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