3 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Day CampMarch 14, 2019
While day camp isn’t necessarily overnight camp, it’s still a big step for your kid. A big, fun step that is. After all, going to camp is something they should be excited about! But, it can be a nervewracking experience too. Much like the first day at a new school, you may notice your child is anxious about the prospect of starting camp. Even though they’ll get to return home in the evenings, their initial days will be filled with people they’ve likely never met and activities they are unfamiliar with.
To help put them at ease with the entire experience, the camp professionals here at Black Bear Day Camp have a few simple suggestions. Follow our advice and your kid will, hopefully, have a bit more of a pep in their step for their first day of camp.
Start with a Conversation
The best way to sift through how your child feels in regards to starting camp is to simply speak with them about it. They’ll likely have a lot of feelings about embarking on this new experience and creating an open forum for them to express those feelings is incredibly important. A large part of instilling confidence in your child is to make them feel as though they can approach you with anything regardless if it’s big or small.
So, ask them what they’re nervous about, listen to their concerns, and allay those anxieties to the best of your ability. By tackling what has them on edge about camp at the beginning of your discussion, you can then steer the conversation towards lighter waters. Meaning, you can start probing their minds about what has them excited for camp. Once you have an idea of what’s getting them truly amped up, you can use those details to remind them why they should be excited if anxiety starts creeping in.
Having a conversation with your child also gives you the chance to relay similar experiences you had as a kid. If you happened to attend camp when you were younger, this conversation is the perfect time to share with your kid how you overcame those initial fears and anxieties of starting camp too. Just make sure you’re sharing positive experiences, as negative experiences are probably just going to make matters worse.
Attend an Open House
After speaking with your child about their worries and hopes regarding camp, it’s not such a bad idea to partake in an open house at the camp they’ll be attending. Sometimes anxiety only exists around something because it’s an unknown entity. Wiping away that layer of the unknown by bringing your child to the camp for a tour before they actually attend is a great way to get them comfortable with what to expect.
While familiarizing them with the camp won’t necessarily make your kid any less nervous about meeting and making new friends, it will give them a chance to imagine themselves there. Also, a physical tour of the camp will give them a sneak preview of what the camp’s facilities have to offer. Open houses are a great way to eliminate the mysticism surrounding the notion of going to camp for the first time, and it’s an excellent way to get your child prepared for the experience.
Get Them Excited by Taking Them Shopping
Due to the sheer number of activities your child will participate in at camp, most camps will provide a list of items they’ll need for said activities. What better way to get your kid on board with camping than to take them shopping? After all, kids love shopping. As long as it’s for them, that is.
As you go from store to store gathering items for their time at camp, be sure to let them pick out the things they’ll be using. It’ll help keep their minds focused on the task at hand and also get them excited about the prospect of going to camp in general.
Allowing them to choose things for camp on their own will give them the opportunity to imagine using those specific items at camp, which will increase their eagerness to get there and boost their confidence about attending camp in general. Anything that gets them enthusiastic about going to camp for the first time is a good thing, and shopping for camp is a great way to make that happen.
Going to day camp can be a big step for a lot of kids, so taking the time out to prepare them for the experience before it happens is a terrific way to set them up for success. While they might be apprehensive to start, they’ll likely be lamenting camp’s end once summer draws to a close.
If your child is a prospective Black Bear Lake camper but you have a few questions for us, give us a call or contact us online. We’d love to answer your questions and help get your kid on board with our stellar experiences!