Parents can expect to feel some degree of separation anxiety when their child is away at summer camp for two weeks or longer, especially in the beginning. Even if there are other siblings in the house, it is perfectly natural to miss your son or daughter. It may hurt a little, but learning to let your child go is actually a good thing for both you and your child.
Here are 6 tips to help you cope when your child is away at summer camp:
- Keep Busy: Nothing will take your mind off your child’s absence better than keeping busy. Do projects around the house, volunteer for an organization or start a hobby or a new exercise routine. Take advantage of the extra time you now have to do something for yourself or others.
- Write Your Child: Just because your child is not home does not mean you cannot keep in touch with him or her. Use the “old school” form of communication: write your son or daughter a letter! Your camper will be thrilled to receive mail. Also, include letters from siblings and grandparents to make your child feel extra special.
- Get Social: Visit the summer camp’s Facebook page and/or YouTube channel a few times a week. You might spot your child in some of the photos or video!
- Have Faith: As a parent, you instinctively want to protect your son or daughter and make sure he or she is safe and well. However, once you have researched and chosen the summer camp for him or her, remember to have faith in the camp staff to supervise your child. More importantly, have faith in your child’s ability to adapt and cope.
- Do Not Feel Guilty: Guilt is a feeling that often derives from separation anxiety, but it is certainly not justified. Whether the camp was your idea or your child’s idea, remember why you sent him or her there in the first place. Was it to make new friends, have fun, learn something new or all of the above? Do not let your anxiety turn into a guilt because it will ruin what should be a fun break for both you and your child.
- Contact the Counselor: If you have a genuine concern or if it simply helps you to relax, email your camper’s counselor. He or she can give you a fairly good reading on your child. Do not express your fears or anxiety about summer camp to your child. Talk to the counselor instead.