It's not unusual for children who are about to spend their first summer at a sleep-away camp to feel anxiety as the beginning of their camp experience gets closer. Children and adults both can get nervous when approaching new challenges for the first time. Campers are nervous before they arrive at camp, but once they arrive realize it is even more fun than they had hoped. They often feel a rewarding sense of accomplishment for having taken on something that seemed a bit scary or intimidating at first. Camp Half Moon in Great Barrington, MA believes a sense of adventure comes from taking risks, and starting your child on their first summer away is a risk that pays off when they have a great experience.
If your child finds themselves becoming anxious before they leave for camp this summer, there are some ways you can help turn their anxiety into anticipation-
1. Let them know that you are confident that they will do well and have a great time at camp.
2. Let them know that you are so excited for them to have this new experience!
3. Let them know how many new friends they’ll make and how many new people they’ll get to meet. Remind them that camp is one of the easiest places to make friends and that all the other campers are in the same position as they are.
4. Do not promise to come pick them up if they get homesick or make bargains if you can help it. Although this may seem like an easy way to calm the nerves of any first-time camper, it usually does not end well if your child does end up becoming homesick, and can even make it easier for them to “give up” on trying to adjust to camp life.
5. Speak to the camp staff and the counselors if your child finds themselves especially nervous before the beginning of camp. Camp Half Moon staff and counselors are familiar with a child’s anxiety about their first camp experience and how to deal with it in a sensitive and compassionate way. If you try and prepare your child and build up the positives, our counselors can make sure they keep an eye on them once they arrive. And of course if you have any questions or concerns contact us at (888) 528-0940.
Being nervous is only natural. Remember that summer camp is a wonderful milestone in your child’s life. Encouraging your child to take healthy risks and overcome their fears is a valuable skill for them to learn, and they will carry it with them throughout their life. No matter how nervous they may be at first, they will thank you later for encouraging them not to “give up” on their first summer camp experience at Camp Half Moon summer camp in New England! So keep calm and try to be encouraging. It will be all right.