3 Tips To Help Parents With Kids At Sleepaway Camp
Move over Homesick, Make Room for ‘Kidsick’
There is ab-so-lute-ly no way in the world your sweet little kid is ready for sleepaway camp. Sure, someday he or she can go… just not this summer. Because little he or she “isn’t ready.” You worry about homesickness. Year after year it’s the same. Just one more summer at home.. or two… or… Hold on a sec. Who exactly is not ready for camp?
More times than not, kids are far more prepared for sleepaway camp than their parents give them credit for. Honestly, the first-time camp experience is harder on parents than it is on kids! Parents understandably worry about “homesickness,” the popular term for missing home and parents when a kid goes to overnight summer camp for the first time. While everyone talks about homesickness, there’s not enough talk about the emotional toll that first-time camp parents experience: “kidsickness.”
Because first-time campers are engaged in a fun, exciting environment, making new friends and delighting in new experiences. They have precious little time to miss home. They are anything but homesick. Parents, on the other hand, are left alone at home, missing their children.
It isn’t unusual for some first-time camp parents to find themselves struggling to fill the time they normally spend focused on caring for their kids. While some parents adjust quite easily to having their child away for the first time, others may struggle with anxiety, sadness or even low-grade stress.
So here are Catalina Island Camps three helpful ways to get “kidsickness” under control:
Stay In Touch
Most sleepaway camps offer the ability (often via a password protected portal on their website) to view daily camp photos. Our sleepaway camp in southern California provides a Family Dashboard with daily summer photos.
This is a fun way for you and other family members to see what is going on at camp, and it will reassure you that your kid and other campers are having fun. Many camps also provide methods for you to email or send letters to your camper, so when you do write, you can comment on the fun activities you see going on at camp.
Who knows, you might even get an email or letter in return. If you do, save them! Letters from camp may be some of the best unexpected, written memories of your kid’s childhood, and quite different from what normally comes home from school.
Remember The Benefits
Remember the benefits of sending a kid to camp. Remember the benefits of sending a kid to camp. Remember the benefits of sending a kid to camp. Got it? Your child will gain many benefits from the camp experience.
Remembering these (fun, new friendships, newfound independence, a break from electronics, mastering new activities and skills, etc.) will not only make the separation easier, it will also remind you of the gift you are giving your child by allowing them to have this terrific experience. Of course, it is difficult for parents to go for extended periods of time without hearing their kid’s voice on the phone but never forget that the independence s/he is gaining is invaluable.
Stay Busy and Take Advantage of Some YOU Time
While looking at photos regularly is encouraged, don’t spend your evenings glued to the computer waiting for new photos to upload. While your child is at camp, it’s a great time to do projects and take trips that are not kid-oriented.
Treat yourself to some adult fun. See your friends. Find ways to enjoy this rare opportunity to grow and experience something new, exciting or rewarding while your child is doing the very same at camp!
This online resource for families includes expert advice, information on health and safety, and ACA’s searchable database of over 2,400 ACA-Accredited® camps, such as Catalina Island Camp!
Or, learn more about Catalina Island Camps summer program and our sleepaway camp in California!