Summer camp season around the corner, advice for parents with nervous children

As the school year winds down and parents are figuring out what their children’s summer plans are, now is the time to begin looking into camps. Some are already beginning to sell out.

“Really it’s the final countdown, we are tying up loose ends, because we have a lot of different programs that go on throughout the summer,” said Phil Harrison, Executive Director of the YMCA’s Camp Reed.

He says that summer camp is an integral part of growing up but can come with some trepidation for youngsters. So what can parents do?

“The more you as a parent or adult-figure can say ‘you are going to have a great time,’ the more they will follow through,” he said.

He also notes that as a parent it can be hard to handle a nervous child, and not get emotional yourself.

“Definitely don’t tell them that if they are nervous that you will come and pick them up,” he said, “or that we are just down the road, because that can give them an out.”

He also recommends going through the whole prepping process with them.

“Practice with them, teach them good habits of packing bags, show them where you are putting their toothbrush and where you are putting their sunscreen,” he said.

Teaching them how to properly apply sunscreen and bug spray is also helpful.

As for picking a camp, do it together, involve them in the process.

“Read a camp’s handbook together,” he said, “read it with them, not to them, so that they get to share in the experience.”

He says that summer camp is an opportunity for children to learn independence, and is supposed to be hard at times. Failure is a part of growing and learning.

He says it’s also about learning important social skills.

“It can sometimes be mom and dad running their lives, or school running their lives, so camp is a great opportunity for them to explore and get that level of independence,” he said. “Camp is a great place to build new friends, its a great skill to learn, that is where I learned how to make new friends and meet new people.”

He notes that some of the camp’s sessions are beginning to fill, and expects others to fill fast.

For more on Camp Reed click here.

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