As a parent, you go to great lengths to play an important role in the life of your child, and as a result, their life becomes your life. So what happens when that life leaves for a summer away at camp? What do you do when the house is quiet?
It’s important to remember the many benefits that your son or daughter will be reaping while they are in this new environment. If you’re a parent who finds yourself “kid-sick” while your child is away, the American Camp Association has a few suggestions to help you push through the heartache of sending your kids to camp.
Focus on the positive. Your child is having fun in a safe environment, while spending time outdoors, making new friends and building character. Camp can teach kids 21st-century skills like leadership, teamwork, problem solving and interpersonal communication.
Remember that separation is natural and necessary. Independence is a fundamental and healthy element in your child’s development. The camp experience helps foster independence and allows kids to acquire skills and assets that will serve them well throughout their life.
Your messages go with them. Your connection to your child isn’t dependent on physical proximity. Everything you have ever taught him or her goes to camp too.
Share what you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts and concerns with a spouse or a friend. Share what is troubling you and how you are feeling.
Feelings of anxiety and sadness about seeing your child leave for camp are reasonable and understandable, but it is also important to remember why you decided to send your child to camp in the first place. A quality camp experience provides your child with the opportunity to learn powerful lessons in community, character-building, skill development and healthy living. Feel confident that by sending your child to camp, you’re giving your son or daughter a great opportunity to develop an even better version of themselves.
The American Camp Association® (ACA) is a national organization; 10,000 members strong, it is actively working with over 2,700 camps. ACA is committed to collaborating with those who believe in quality camp and outdoor experiences for children, youth, and adults. ACA provides advocacy and evidence-based education and professional development, and is the only national accrediting body for the organized camp experience. For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org.