The idea of being away from your parents for a few days can be overwhelming for a child, but it's important to have this experience because it will help them develop socially and become more responsible.
The first time at camp could mean excitement, mistrust, stress, anxiety and pressure. But if they know in advance what to expect, what the challenges are and what the benefits will be, children can gain confidence in their own strengths and see their first camp as an adventure.
Every child is different and there is no specific time when they are ready for camp. In general, children under 8 years old find it harder to be away from home. Short camps are recommended for them, so they can have fun and enjoy the experience without feeling homesick. However, some of the children ask to be sent to camp and talk enthusiastically about it. This is one of the first signs that they are ready for adventure.
In this article, we'll show you some of the ways you can help your child enjoy the summer camp experience:
Tell your child about your first camp experience
Before going to the first camp, it's a good idea for your child to know what to expect. Use personal experience to familiarise your child with what they will experience on this new adventure. Try to focus on the good times, the fun you had, but also talk about the friendships you made. But it's important not to ignore the less pleasant aspects too. It's good for your child to know that worry is not a weakness, but a normal feeling before an unknown experience or that it can be difficult to spend time away from parents, grandparents or close friends.
Talk to your little one about his concerns
Before any new experience, it is normal for a child to feel anxious, nervous, scared and worried. That's why it's important for them to know that all these feelings are natural and, together, find the best ways to manage them. Firstly, you can reassure him that you will talk constantly and that he can call you whenever he feels the need to hear your voice. On the other hand, you can suggest a few people - whom he trusts and values (teachers, school counsellors, colleagues, friends) - with whom he can seek advice when he has a problem and who can help him when he is in difficulty.
Last but not least, you can remind him of past events that ended well. From the first day of school
to the first bike ride or the first practice, every moment when he had feelings similar to those he felt before the first camp - and overcame them with flying colours - can be encouraging for your little one.
Bring other children's experiences to your child
It can be a real help for your child to hear from other children who have already been to summer camp how they did, what they enjoyed, what they liked and disliked and what the benefits of such an experience are. Hearing from children close in age to your child about the activities that take place at camp, the friendships that are made and how fun and educational such an experience can be can make your child more relaxed and eager to embark on this new adventure.
Plan evenings away from home
Perhaps the hardest part of camp is that your little ones will have to spend nights away from home, and the separation anxiety some children feel can be overwhelming. To prepare your child for such an experience, they need to be used to sleeping away from home.
One way to make your child feel comfortable is to plan a few evenings when they sleep somewhere else. A weekend at the grandparents' or an evening at a friend's can help him get used to spending evenings away from the comfort of his own home more quickly.
Prepare the travel luggage with your child
An important step before any trip is packing. Although for some adults this can be a tiring and stressful task, for children it can be a sign of independence. Together with your child choose clothes for his first camp and be prepared to consider his opinions. At the same time, to alleviate some of the homesickness, make sure he packs some of his favourite things for his first summer camp: a book he loves to read before bed, a toy he likes to play with, his favourite blanket, a family photo or some items of clothing he feels comfortable in.
It's essential that your little one packs all the things that make them feel good and help them get through some tough times.
Kinderpedia keeps parents close to children's camp adventures
Children's excitement is at an all-time high as they prepare to leave for camp and parents are overwhelmed with excitement. Especially if it's their first time away. Kinderpedia opens up a window to the adventures children have at camp. Teachers easily send messages and photos to parents, so they feel part of their children's experiences no matter how far away they are. Anxieties disappear and make way for smiles.
Children's camps are an opportunity to explore a new world and discover new ways to play, learn and have fun. At the same time, it gives them a chance to make new friends, develop social skills, learn about teamwork and what it means to be responsible. After such an adventure, your child may be more independent, creative and willing to interact with other children.
Photo source: Freepik