Tips for Adjusting to Life After Summer Camp

Tips for Adjusting to Life After Summer Camp

Regardless of how many times your child has attended an overnight camp, adjusting back to life at home can be challenging. For first-timers, there is plenty of information available online to help prepare for camp—what to pack, how to say goodbye, and tips for writing letters to your young camper. But what about the transition back to home life? Here are a few tips to help both you and your camper adjust to life following summer camp.

Campers May Not Be Quite as Happy to be Home as You Thought

Most parents who send their child to an overnight camp for the first time expect their child to be really excited to see them when they return home. But your camper may not be quite as excited as you envisioned. Yes, they will be excited to see you, but they may also be sad that camp is over. Don’t be surprised if your child is quiet or sheds a few tears when they first get back. They've spent the past few weeks developing intense friendships that now they've left behind! The conflict emotions are difficult for kids.


Each child is going to want to talk about their camp experience differently. Some children are more likely to give you a play-by-play of what they did every day, telling you detailed stories and convoluted jokes, and describing what they learned. This is how some children help you share the experience with them as they relive it.

Others aren’t going to be super talkative about their camp experience, often only providing one-word answers to questions, such as “great” or “awesome.” If your child isn’t willing to freely provide information, don’t push it. Try to resist the urge to badger them with questions and insist that they provide you with more information than they are willing to share. Either way your child communicates about camp, the key is to listen.

Let Them Sleep

While your child is away at camp, you probably enjoyed a few relaxing days or weeks where you were able to get some extra rest in. That’s probably not the case for your camper. They may have gotten less sleep than they normally do at home -- and they certainly had more activity! Combine the lack of sleep with emotional stimulation, diminished personal space, intense friendships, activities, and the excitement of camp and no surprise, your child will be exhausted when they return home! Upon arriving home, they might want to something to eat before heading to bed, or they might be so tired they skip eating and go directly to sleep. Either way, expect that your child is going to need some extra hours of sleep for the next few days. Try not to plan a lot for them to do in the days following camp.

Similar to how much work and preparation went into preparing your child to attend summer camp, it is going to take some time for them to adjust to life back at home! Give it time, let them adjust and you’ll hear all about their wonderful experience at camp.

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