Going to camp is a rite of passage that will spur your child’s independence. While you know that they are in for some exciting times ahead, it is normal for a child to be apprehensive about their first night away from home. New faces, unfamiliar cabins and being away from mom and dad can all seem terrifying to a first-time camper. Yet within only a matter of hours after arrival most campers are quickly adjusted and making new friends. As you wait for the big day to arrive, use these strategies to help your little camper prepare for their first overnight experience.
Make a Campfire Blanket
At camp, gathering around the campfire is an opportunity to enjoy camaraderie while enjoying some of the best camping traditions such as singing songs and roasting marshmallows. Since this is one of the most treasured activities for campers, making a campfire blanket can get your child excited. Once their blanket is made, encourage them to decorate it with patches and appliques to show off their unique style.
Plan a Practice Overnight Stay
Many children have never before stayed a night away from home and a short overnight stay with a family member or friend can give them confidence. Just make sure to arrange for them to stay with someone outside of their comfortable family structure. Try not to call while they are gone and avoid picking them up if they call in the middle of the night. When they get home, talk about how it went and use this information to work on any areas where they could use their coping strategies.
As the day for heading off to camp nears, it is common for new campers to experience some nervousness mixed with their excitement. Remember to keep your language positive and remind your child that you cannot wait to hear about their adventures. Make sure to send a letter ahead of time, so that it will be waiting for your child’s arrival, and then enjoy knowing that they are in for the experience of their lifetime.