Dos and Don’ts of Summer Camp for Parents - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Dos and Don’ts of Summer Camp for Parents

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Summer is a few months away, and for parents and kids thatmeans summer camps. Many of us grew up with wonderful memories of summer filleddays at camp. The songs by the campfire, the canoe races and a sundry of otherevents and new friends fill our minds with good memories. Today, sending yourchild to camp involves an understudy of camping knowledge and skill. There isan exhausting list of possible camps, and one that can help enhance anyweakness your child may need help strengthening. It doesn't matter if yourchild is going to a baseball camp, math camp, science camp or a basketballcamp, along with this list you will find a long list of what kids should andshouldn't bring. A shorter list is available of dos and don'ts for parents.

Most camps are meant for kids, not for their parents. However,if you are a first timer sending your child away to a summer camp you will notea heightened sense of anxiety. How do you know if your child will be okay? Areyou sure this camp will address their individual needs? What if there is anemergency? All sorts of possible crisis run through your mind. There are alwaysthings that can happen, but most of them can happen every day of your child'slife with or without camp. Your heightened sense of anxiety may, however,affect you and turn you into a model parent for what not to do when your childis at camp. Below are a few of the dos and don'ts for being the type of campparent your child won't be embarrassed to travel home with.

  1. Let goand let your child learn new experiences with trained counselors. Yourchild has an opportunity to return from camp feeling accomplished and more selfassured. You can help facilitate this by reassuring your child before theyleave for camp and reminding them of other times they felt unsure or insecureand did wonderfully. Also, reassure them you will be there if they need you.Parents who cannot let go and allow the camp counselors to teach their childrennew skills and offer them opportunities stifle their child's emotional growth.
  2. Communicatewith them as appropriate. Camps have rules about ways and how much tocommunicate with the camper. Parents who follow these rules and make sure theirchild has the appropriate communication are sending their child the messagethat they trust them and have confidence in them. Parents that try to overcommunicate or indulge their child with gifts throughout the week send theirchild the message that they are not like the other kids and need moreattention. This prevents the child from bonding to the other campers andlearning to self soothe when they feel stress or homesick. Camp counselors areinstructed on healthy ways to de-stress children. Allow your children theopportunity to learn these and more healthy tips.
  3. 3.       Having your child away at camp can also bea relationship retreat for you and your spouse. Take advantage of being acouple again and enjoying late dinners or evenings spent out. When your childcomes home full of new experiences to talk about you will both be eager to giveup the time listening. Your relationship will be stronger and closer. Don'tspend the camp week or month feeling anxious and alone without your child. Acamp is an opportunity for both the child and the parents to grow.

My daughters bothwent to camps and would come home with stories to tell and memories they stillsmile and talk about. The experience has them humming a tune they learned longago. It was also a wonderful week for their dad and me. We were able to be acouple again which restored and helped our marriage. Summer camps are part of achild's history and one they will pass on to their children. Ensuring yourchild has a wonderful experience begins with embracing the camp, following therules and trusting your child's ability as well as yours to let go and thrive.–Mary Jo Rapini


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