A sleepaway camp is the best place to take your kids this summer. When it is something you are going to for the first time, you can get apprehensive, especially if your kids are still very young.
However, these tips will make things easier for you.
Acknowledge Your Privilege
A Sleepaway camp is a nurturing and safe place designed to enrich your kids’ knowledge and entertain them. It is not as expensive as you might think, and many families and afford it. You’ll get separated from your kids for the number of days. But you need not worry; your kids will be in safe hands and mingle with other kids of the same age groups.
Failing to organize early is the worst thing you can do to your kids. Go through the parents’ handbook provided by the camp and copy the requirements. Read all the suggestions and ensure you comply with them.
Ensure you pack everything your kids may need. Don’t forget to pack many shirts, pairs of socks, shorts, and warm clothing that they may need at night. Don’t forget to use camp labels on all the items you’ve bought to help track them.
Prepare Your Kids Psychologically
It is good to prepare your kids for what is coming. It is good to make them feel excited about the camp while preparing them for the fact that you’ll be separated from them for some days. Kids may experience separation anxiety, which manifests itself as:
- Nausea or vomiting, stomach upset, and stomach-aches
- Being afraid of darkness, having nightmares, or difficulties in breathing
- Having headaches
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
Separation anxiety can also show up as:
- Being afraid while away from family members
- Refusing to take part in activities or avoiding all the activities going on at the camp
- Becoming ill physically
- Feeling distressed
- Wanting to keep the caregiver always in their sight
- Worrying excessively
If you don’t prepare your kids well for the camp, separation anxiety may spoil for them the fun at the camp.
How to Deal with Anxiety
While all children experience some level of separation anxiety, some of these feelings originate externally. Outside circumstances can exacerbate or cause separation anxiety. If your kids are depressed because of another reason other than separation, they may need extra security and comfort. This will make them have a stronger desire to be with you and in familiar surroundings.
So, if your child has a more than usual separation anxiety, look for the reasons that might be causing this. For example, your child may be suffering from abuse by people outside the family, making him/her not to trust anyone outside the family. If you suspect your child’s anxiety results from something else, don’t ignore it but take appropriate action.
Staying away from your kids for say ten straight days can be distressful both to you and to the kids. Why not practice separation for a shorter duration before the kids finally go to the camp? You can even start with an hour or two hours of separation, and then increase the time as the days go by.
If you have a trusted housekeeper, you can let him/her be with the kids alone for a whole day, and at the end of the day, you can assess their situation. You can also take them to a trusted relative for a day or two, so they can get used to the fact that they can be with ‘strangers’ and still feel safe.
Prepare yourself psychologically
It’s not only your kids that will be affected by the separation. As a parent, you also suffer from anxiety arising from the unknown. The feeling can overwhelm if it’s the first time you will be separated from your kids. If you don’t prepare yourself well, you’ll also have sleepless nights, so many nightmares and worries.
Wrapping it up
It would help if you visited the camp ahead of time to get acquainted with what goes on. This will allow you to know how the kids are taken care of, the security measures in place, where they sleep, how they are fed, etc.
You’ll also get to know the staff at the camp and ask them a few questions you may have. With this knowledge, you’ll know that your kids will be at a safe place and well taken care of.