How to Be the Best 1st Time Camper Parent
How to be the…
Best 1st Time Camper Parent
Whether your camper is already at camp or you’re getting the duffels packed to send them off in a few days. It’s their first summer and you may be a nervous wreck with a million parental worries running through your head. Or maybe you’re not, and you’re just excited to give your kids the greatest gift that you can. Either way, no matter where your head is, we’re here to give you some tips on how to be the best first-time camper parent.
1. Take a deep breath!
From shopping and laundry piles to labeling those socks, packing can be stressful. Add on top of that a kid who pinballs between unbridled excitement and first summer (or second summer!) nerves, and it’s hard to really enjoy those last few days at home with your camper. All of this is totally normal. Just remind yourself that sending your kids to camp is a wonderful gift. It’s all going to be great!
2. Treat yourself!
Once the kids are off at camp, remember to treat yourself. This is your time to have a break too. Check out our parent bucket list of things to accomplish while your kid is at camp. You can say goodbye to soccer carpool and play-dates for a bit. Having fun doesn’t mean you miss your kid any less; it means you’re making the most of your summer! Go meet your friend for Happy Hour or finish that book you’ve been trying to finish all year.
3. Write a lot of letters, but don’t worry if you don’t get as many in return.
Getting mail at camp is the best! But don’t worry if you don’t hear as often from your camper. Getting only half of the letters back means your camper is too busy having fun to write back. They are busy playing soccer, archery, swimming, zip-lining, making new friends, and exploring new interests. Plus there may have been a bunk game of gaga last week, which makes sense for the short 4-worded-letter of “Hi Mom Love You”.
4. Schedule “Photo Times”.
Remember, this is your time to relax and focus on other things. Don’t let the refreshing of the camp photo stream take up to your day-to-day. Do check daily or even a few times a day to comb through the hundreds of photos that the camp posted, but just don’t let it take up your “adult time”.
5. Give it a few days before calling the camp office.
If the first letter you receive from your kid isn’t the glowing report you hoped for, don’t worry too much. It’s a new experience, and your child may just need time to adjust to the new environment. By the time you read that letter, your camper has probably bonded with their counselors, made some new friends, and signed up for fun activities. Camp staff is trained to take great care of your child’s physical and emotional well-being. In fact, learning that they can successfully adapt to a new situation is one of the ways that summer camp teaches campers about their own strength and resilience, providing them with self-confidence and a new sense of independence. That being said, if you have any concerns, camps encourage open communication. Reach out to them for an update if you need to, but also trust that they have your child’s best interest at heart.
6. When they get home remember they may also need some time adjusting back to “normal”.
If they are sad, it’s not that they aren’t excited to see you. You just gave them the gift of a lifetime, and they probably miss their new friends. If they need a pick-me-up, a good bubble bath and their favorite foods will always be appreciated! So remember give them space, give them time to adjust back into a new routine, and before you know it the camp stories will start flowing. (Just wait – you won’t be able to have a conversation without the phrase “once at camp…” popping up!)