You may get warm and fuzzy feelings when you think about sending your child or teen to summer camp, but that may not be the feeling that the child gets at all. In fact, your child may be afraid or even angry at you. He may perceive that you are sending him away to some dreadful place. The following are some tips on how you can get your child in the mood and in the groove to go through camp effectively:
Explain That You Love Him
For some reason, children and teens associate leaving the home with abandonment. Your child may get the impression that you just want to get rid of him, and you are using summer camp as a way to dump him off. Take the time to explain to your child that you love him dearly, but that the summer camp can provide services and activities for him that you cannot provide for him. Let him know that you will miss him when he is gone, but that the two of you need this time apart so you can both grow. Explain that the absence will make him miss and appreciate the home base more. He will come around. Make sure you offer one of those super mom hugs before you send him off. Maybe he will remember that during the time you are separated.
Tell Him About the Activities
One reason that kids sometimes think summer camp is going to be lame is that they don’t know how awesome the activities are going to be. You can solve that problem by showing them the itinerary. Show your child or your teen that they will be involved in water sports, camping trips, wilderness adventures, arts and crafts, musical instruments and the like. Furthermore, let your child know that he or she will have the opportunity to meet some new friends at camp. Your child will absolutely love that idea.
Offer a Bribe
If all else fails, you can try a kiddie bribe. Tell your child that his favorite toy will be waiting for him or the two of you will do your favorite activity together just as soon as he gets back from summer camp. That may work for him. The goal is to give him something to look forward to when he comes back if your attempts to get him to look forward to going don’t work.
Try those three suggestions and see if you can get to a better place with him. Summer camp is an exhilarating place to be for a lot of people. Your child will have a wonderful time there, and he will probably not give you any trouble the following year. If you need to consult with a professional, Camp White Pine may be able to provide you with additional information.