by Julie Feldman, LCSW Camp Firefly Assistant Director
As camp begins to feel more and more like a reality, it is normal for your child to start to feel anxious about leaving home. Even campers who have been to Camp Firefly before may still feel nervous. Check out some tips to help your family get ready for the summer!
Ten Tips from the Camp Firefly Staff
- Let your child feel a sense of ownership over the experience. Involve him in picking out clothes, a favorite stuffed animal or toy, and maybe even a new pair of tennis shoes.
- Help your child get excited about camp - watch the Firefly video, read the newsletter and look at pictures on the website
- Avoid focusing on what makes children anxious. Instead of asking leading questions like, "Are you nervous about horseback riding?" ask open-ended questions like, "How are you feeling about the horses?"
- Don't trivialize concerns or offer glib reassurances. "There's nothing to worry about!" or "Everyone loves camp!" may discourage your child. Instead, show that you have empathy and acknowledge his concerns. Maybe even share a time that you left home and felt nervous, and what you did to conquer your fears.
- Avoid abstract issues. Focus on concrete details in conversations leading up to and during summer camp, such as games in the pool, meals in the dining hall or campfire rituals.
- Reflect on your own formative experiences away from home and share positive aspects of them with your child. Show that you are willing to talk about the new things he'll be doing --whether it's eating new food, sleeping in a bunk bed, getting along with cabin mates, or co-existing with insects.
- Go through "rehearsals." A shorter-term sleepover or a night at Grandma's will make it easier for your child to be away from home.
- Don't linger at drop-off. Keep the good-byes short, as delaying just causes more mixed feelings (for both the camper and the family).
- Make communication easy, even while far away. Pack letters and date them so that counselors can provide your child with a piece of mail from loved ones every day. Send an email from your CampInTouch account each day.
- Provide an opportunity for your child to see camp before they stay at camp. Open houses and camp tours are an excellent way to minimize fears! Camp Firefly's Visitor's Day will take place on Sunday, June 11th!
Limited camp spots are still open - register today! Returning campers contact Laura Olear to access the registration forms or to schedule an interview. New campers call 855.275.5237 to begin the registration process.