Summer is just around the corner, and for many families, that means summer camp. Going to summer camp is a warm and happy memory for many, and a learning experience that can greatly impact a child’s development and self-confidence, as they grow more independent. It’s a time when kids are free to explore new parts of their world, try new activities, make new friends, and fully enjoy the unique adventure of childhood itself.
But many campers (and their parents) often experience some pre-camp anxiety before leaving home for the first time. Here are five ways you can help prepare your child emotionally for summer camp by involving them in every step of the physical preparation process.
Focus on Their Unique Interests
What excites your child? Where do you see them having the most fun? There are a wide variety of summer camps out there—from the traditional cabin-in-the-woods camp with kayaking, swimming, and fishing, to special interest or themed camps, which can focus on specific sports, hobbies, or skills. Whatever your child’s unique interests, personality type, or skills set, you can bet there is a summer camp for them. Observe and listen closely to their play, talk, and hobbies as you consider what kind of camp might make the most memorable experience for them.
Involve Them in the Decision Process
Once you’ve come up with several different camp options that would work for you and your family, ask your child to help you make the final decision. Go over the list of options with them and talk about the differences between each, such as various activities or themes offered, distance from home, or length of time away. Ask them what sounds the most fun to them, and listen to what they have to say. There’s something very exciting and empowering for a child about feeling involved in a big decision like this—and by giving them a say, you’re helping to build their confidence before they even walk out the door.
Have Them Make a Packing List
Resist the urge to take over the shopping and packing checklists yourself. It’s completely understandable that you might want to feel in control of making sure your child has everything they need, but sharing these important tasks with your child will ultimately make them feel more secure and in control of their own experience.
Many camps will provide a packing list for you. Make sure your child is familiar with this list and ask them write down anything else they might need, as well as what they already own and what they still need to buy. Challenge them to think of certain scenarios they might encounter while away from home, and what they would need in those situations. You can go over the final lists together and make changes where needed, but by encouraging them to think ahead about how to care for themselves, you’re equipping them to do that with confidence and assurance when they are away from home. They’ll be able to rest easier knowing they have everything they need. And so will you.
Let Them Customize Their Experience
Part of the fun of summer camp is the chance for a child to express themselves as individuals, and to learn more about who they are as they grow. Use this opportunity to let them customize their experience while shopping for supplies—such as the styles, colors, and designs they like.
No summer camp adventure is complete without a traditional camp trunk, and thanks to partnerships with retailers trunkoutlet.com and trunkoutletkanakuk.com, we can create a Rhino camp trunk that perfectly fits your child’s unique taste and individuality. With a wide range of colors—and even custom interior designs—to choose from, as well as additional features like engraved name plates, you can create the perfect iconic camp trunk for your child. One they’ll be sure to fill with years of lifelong summer camp memories.
Throw a Packing Party
Don’t let the act of packing cause anxiety and homesickness before your child has even left. Put on some music, get some snacks, and make it a special time you can share together. Keep the mood positive and encouraging, and help build the excitement by asking them what they’re most excited to do while away. This is also an opportunity to teach your child how to pack their trunk efficiently, since they’ll need to stay neat and organized while away from home.