Posts Tagged ‘making friends at camp’

Summer Camp Success

July 18th, 2011

Many parents are worried about their child going away to summer camp; especially if it is the first time, your child is upset and they don’t want to go, or you are concerned because your child has a difficult time with friendships.

There are many benefits to camp and there are ways to help your child so they have a successful summer camp experience.

Summer camp benefits include:

Mastering new skills, developing friendships, learning to get along with other children, a sense of self-confidence as they encounter new experiences and learn how to negotiate differences and overcome difficulties they experience. Children learn how to follow rules and norms, adjust and modify their behaviors to fit in with the social expectations, and adapt to new circumstances (many of the skills necessary to be successful as an adult).

There is an alchemy that happens at camp. As a parent you may ask your child to wake up and do chores at home and your child may be resistant and defiant. Whereas, at camp the collective group is awake and doing the scheduled activities, regardless if your child “likes” the activities. There is a powerful social expectation at camp, and children tend to respond favorably to the requests of a counselor. Often the behaviors seen at home, such as whining and defiance, are reduced at camp or in other social situations. When I’ve asked children about this they responded that the consequences at home are different than at school or camp (or that their parent’s say will do something but never follow through). Children have told me that don’t want to be embarrassed, and would act they way they do home while at camp or school.

So if you are concerned about your child adjusting to camp, they may actually excel at camp and get along better than they would at home with their sibling.

Here are some tips to help your child have summer camp success:

  • Is it your child’s first summer camp experience? Start your child at local summer camps. You can choose a camp for a few hours a day or a full day program. Choose a camp with activities that they enjoy and they are excited about.
  • Visit the website and show your child what camp looks like and the activities they will be doing. Visit the location if necessary, and introduce your child to the staff to help with the transition.
  • If your child has special needs or you are worried about their behavior at camp, talk with the staff. Many parents worry that the camp staff will treat their child differently if they mention their child needs additional support. Be upfront about your child’s needs to ensure that the camp is a good match for your child. For example, if your child has ADHD, make sure the staff knows how to work with a child who is a hands-on active learner. The more information the camp staff have, the more they can appropriately support your child’s success, and if the camp is not a good match it is better to know that information before your child attends a program that is not suitable.
  • If your child is hesitant to go to a day camp, have them sign-up with a sibling or attend a camp with a friend. You can also volunteer for a few hours until your child becomes acclimated to the new environment.
  • Ready for an overnight camp? Pick one that offers activities your child loves, such as horseback riding camp or art camp. If your child is a reluctant camper choose a camp closer to home and go for a visit before the start of camp. Again, you can choose a camp that a friend or sibling is attending if your child is worried about going to a new place.
  • You can help your child heading off to camp cope with the transition and  make friends with these creative way to get ready for  summer camp
  • Are you looking for summer programs for children in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch FL? Click here to find out more:

To help your child be successful at summer camp you must take into consideration your child’s unique needs and interests. If you are concerned about your child going to camp and you worry that they have a difficult time separating from you, they are anxious and overwhelmed in new situations, we can help. We have programs to help your child feel more confident and develop creative skills to manage worries, anxiety, and new situations. Click here to learn more>


Creative ways to get ready for summer camp

June 15th, 2011

If your child is going to camp for the first time or they are worried about going to a new summer camp, here are some creative ideas to help them transition from home to camp.

Work together with your child and create a scrapbook or photo album of their favorite things at home (such as pets, family, bedroom), then leave some pages blank so they can add pictures and post cards of their camp friends and experiences. They can bring it to camp as a transitional object, a connection to home when they are feeling homesick. Send them off with an inexpensive digital camera or disposable camera to capture camp moments and add it to their book when they return home.

Help your child with the transition by talking about the new experiences and new friends they will meet. Talk about what they can do if they are missing home or feeling upset (such as bringing a journal or art materials and taking a creative break).

Send them off with stamps or they can pick out postcards with you before they leave for camp to send home when they miss you.

For children who are new to camp send them a post card each day for the first week, and send  a goodie box with favorite snacks, art supplies, or some funny family pictures.

Bring something to share with the other campers so your child can more easily connect with others and make friends.  This may be packing an art project (such as making friendship bracelets) or a bag of snacks to share, depending upon the age of your child and what they are interested in.

Some children become more anxious and worried when it comes to a new situation, such as leaving to go to summer camp. If your child needs support and creative ways to manage their worries please contact us. We have programs to help your child feel more confident and develop creative skills to manage new situations. Click here to learn more>