Dear First -Time Camper Parent:
We’re delighted your child is coming to Camp Woodmont this summer! This letter offers important tips and guidelines to ensure a successful camp experience for you and your child.
Many parents never attended summer camp as a child, so feeling a little emotional tug before taking your child to camp is fairly typical. If you feel a bit of anxiety, relax, that’s normal.
Potential Homesickness (HS)
Don’t worry. Homesickness is normal. According to psychologists, 95% of children experience some degree of HS when they’re away from home. It’s typically a fleeting moment.
One of the best things you can do to avoid HS is to provide assurance and encouragement to your child before camp. Being positive and upbeat is the key to your child’s success.
What else can parents do?
- Encourage practice time away from home
- Assure your child that YOU will be doing fine without him
- Provide detailed information about our camp
- Teach your child coping strategies and tell them what to do if they feel homesick.
Research shows the most effective ways of coping are: staying busy, talking with counselors, writing letters, making friends, focusing on what’s fun, maintaining a positive attitude and remembering camp will be over before you know it. Please review these with your child before camp.
What do I do if I get a HS Letter?
It’s normal to receive a “missing home “ letter.
Keep in mind the letter is s few days old by the time you receive it, and the counselors have already helped make things better. And, HS passes by quickly. In your reply, be sympathetic but encouraging. Remember, children exaggerate negative emotions and remind them that their feelings are normal and you know they are capable of thinking and doing lots of things to make them feel better.
Finally, if you have strong concerns, call us. But keep in mind that camp is busy at all times. Our primary responsibility is your child…constant emails and phone calls only draw attention away from the children. Explain to your child that the phone is NOT for campers’ use (as it only stirs up strong emotions.) We will work with your child to soothe homesickness.
What parents should NOT do?
1. Offer a “pick up deal”
Some well-intended parents say, “I’ll come get you if you get homesick.”
The perception is “I don’t have enough confidence in you, so I’ll rescue you.” There’s no good outcome for the pickup deal (either way).
You and your child will make it through. And you will be much happier knowing your child has achieved a higher degree of self esteem and confidence, while learning new activities and responsibilities while at camp.
2. Give mixed messages
“I don’t know what I’ll do without you.” or “I hope to remember to feed your dog.”
These messages give your child the impression that you’re not going to function without your child.
Reassure your child that you and things at home are fine.
Don’t say anything to make your child worried about stuff at home. Remind your child that camp is not forever, and to enjoy it before it flies by.
Remember to take care of yourself…and enjoy a well-deserved break from full time parenting. Have dinner with your spouse, spend time with your friends, go on a vacation or just relax.
Camp is going to be great for your child! And no matter what you’re doing, the kids are having an even better time than you are!
Should you have other concerns or questions, please contact us at the camp office at 706-398-0739. We’ll see you soon!