Kids Who Head Off to Camp May Need a Little Extra Help

Parents are always happy and eager to find the perfect camp for their kids. Needless to say, sometimes the kids are not as excited. Some experience separation anxiety, as well as other challenges.

Here is a checklist you might want to consider before choosing a camp.

~ Anxious children often have extreme anxiety, worrying about the worst thing that could happen. If your child seems anxious, ask what her biggest fear is, and talk her through it.

~ Get feedback and help from many sources. Talk to the child, the camp counselor, camp director, parents of friends at camp, etc.

~ If homesickness is involved, find out how the camp addresses this topic and ask for advice. The child's pediatrician might have some good suggestions, too.

~ Be sure the child takes along pictures of each member of the family, even a picture of a pet might be necessary. If possible, have a friend of your child's go along. It will help take away most pangs of homesickness.

~ Pack any stuffed animal your child may sleep with and remind her that she can send you a letter whenever she wants to or can even call home.

~ Pack a pad of stationery, a pen or pencil, envelopes, and stamps. Let her pick them out.

~ Be sure to send her mail as often as you would like. Kids love to get mail, especially when they are away at camp.

~ Call the camp and ask what will be provided for sore throat, mosquito bites, sunburn and a fever. Ask what you can send with her to possibly prevent these.

~ Some kids are anxious about tons of things and many are homebodies. It might be that the amount of days the camp lasts for is too long. If the camp is for two weeks, cut it back to one. If she is literally losing sleep over the idea, why make her go? Cancel the reservation and get your money back. Instead of overnight camp, enroll her in a day camp program where she comes home everyday.

~ If she has gone to the same camp for the past couple of years, try a new one.

~ Keep your personal comments and reactions that might be feeding into the situation to yourself. When talking to camp personnel, do so in private where your child cannot hear.

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