The Blog of the West Wind

The Blog of the West Wind

Tips to Help an Anxious Child Prepare for Camp

Wednesday, August 15, 2018/by Kabeyun/Go Back

Tips to Help an Anxious Child Prepare for Camp

Attending one of the best summer camps in New England is a summer tradition for many families. It becomes something that both parents and children look forward to, counting down the days until camp starts. Once at camp, days are filled with hours of outdoor play, campfires, and making friends and life-long memories. While camp is a fun and anxiously anticipated event for many, what about children who are anxious about attending an overnight camp? Here are a few tips to help an anxious child enjoy their time at camp.

  • Let your child establish a sense of ownership over their camp experience. Involve them in packing their clothes prior to leaving for camp. Familiarize them with the different events and activities that are available at camp so they will know what to expect and be able to start thinking about what activities they want to participate in.
  • Get your child excited for camp. Take them shopping to purchase necessary items that they will need for camp. If they are involved in picking out their gear, they will be more excited and look forward to being able to use it at camp.
  • Avoid talking about what makes your child anxious about camp. Ask open-ended questions to get them talking about how they are feeling. For example, don’t ask, “Are you nervous about going canoeing?” Rather, ask something like, “How do you feel about canoeing?”
  • Don’t brush off your child’s concerns about camp. Saying things like “everyone loves camp” or “there is nothing to worry about” can have reverse effects and make your child more discouraged and anxious about attending camp. Show empathy toward your child and their concerns.
  • Practice sleepovers away from home. Have your child spend the night at a grandparent’s home so they can adjust to being away from home, and mom and dad, prior to attending camp.
  • Don’t drag out your goodbyes at drop off. Keep your goodbyes short. Long delays at drop-off can cause more mixed feelings about camp for your child.
  • Help your child establish realistic, goal-oriented plans for their time at camp. These goals can include making friends, roasting the perfect marshmallow, passing a swimming test, or trying something new every day. Having goals to work toward can provide your child with a sense of accomplishment and help to take their mind off their anxiety as they work to complete those goals.

The best summer camps in New England, including Camp Kabeyun, know that attending camp can be a little scary, especially the first time. Working with your child to validate their concerns before arriving at camp can help your son have a great experience and leave him wanting to return year after year.  

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