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The Blog of the West Wind

The Blog of the West Wind

Offseason musings from the Director and other voices regarding Kabeyun’s philosophy and the role of camp in developing strong, confident, and caring boys.

How To Help Your Anxious Son Prepare for Summer Camp

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Parents who attended overnight camps in New England as a child often can’t wait for their own children to experience camp themselves. Camp is a great time for kids to learn and try new things. It is also the optimal opportunity to make new friends and develop life-long skills. Camp is also full of fun activities that your child will get to pick and choose from, including canoeing, crafts, swimming, and so more.

If at any point in the months, weeks, or days leading up to your child’s sleep away camp, you begin to notice that you are more excited camp then they are, take a step back and check in with your child. Here are a few tactics you can use to help your child open up so you can help them manage their anxiety.

Make an Observation About Their Feelings

Depending on how in-tune your child is with their feelings and how open they are to share them, you may want to start with a simple observation. An observation leaves the conversation open-ended, allowing them to share as much or as little as they want. Try saying something like: “From the look on your face, I wonder if you are a little nervous about going to camp.”

Listen to Their Reply

Stay connected, offer comfort, and, most importantly, be quiet. Really listen to what they have to say and pause after their response to give them time to expand.

Explain that Their Feelings are Normal

Reaffirm to your child that what they are feeling is completely normal and valid. You can try and say things such as, “I bet most kids are nervous about going to camp,” as a way to help them realize that everyone gets anxious when trying new things and stepping outside their comfort zone.

Listen Again

Your child may have more to say about how they are feeling. Continue to listen to them as they open up. Continue to listen for as long as they need to talk. Continue to reaffirm that how they feel is understandable and you want to be there to support them through it.

Brainstorm Solutions

Work together with your child to think of ways that they can feel less anxious at home before going to camp and while they are at camp. Some things you can try are:

  • Writing a story about going to camp
  • Role play meeting a new friend or asking for help
  • Packing games and activities to share with new friends
  • Bringing a favorite stuffed animal or trinket from home

By addressing their fears and anxieties before leaving for overnight camps in New England, you are helping to set your child up for a successful summer camp experience.

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