Planning for summer camp is the fun and exciting part. And going away for six or eight weeks is a great experience for any child. But coming home from a fabulous summer away can be a bit of a challenge. The key for every parent is to ensure a “smooth landing” for their child once summer is over. And its simply about creating a caring and supportive home environment post-summer.
While most kids will be happy to see family and friends after summer camp, there’s still a little sadness that camp is over, and there will naturally be some associated emotions. This is typical for every child – after all, summer camp was a thrilling, liberating, and exciting experience.
Returning campers, even the boys, will recount their summer experiences for some time, and with all of the details. And although boys are known to be less vocal than girls, they still want to share their camp stories. The best approach for parents is to listen well, and be attentive.
After a long summer, most campers are actually tired - both physically and emotionally. Camp has been intense, and particularly if it was a specialty camp focused on sports or the arts. Here, it’s wise for parents to allow for “extra” freedom, without asking for much responsibility.
Importantly, parents need to remember that kids are kids. Lost clothes and damaged equipment aren’t a big deal. Welcoming the child back to home base is the important job. And while they all miss their camp friends and their cabins, they just need some time to readapt to their home.
A good camp will have changed your child for the better. All of this is worth talking about and being supportive. In fact, there may have been some positive emotional changes, even some self-esteem changes. And with some new friends on the horizon, it’s all well worth talking about.
Summer camp may have had rules and boundaries, but there were no nagging parents. Once back from camp, the atmosphere at home is different – and this needs time to get accustomed. Parents should realize that their kids need time to adjust while they reacquaint with parental nagging.
Interestingly, there are campers who actually return home from camp and are “camp sick”. This is quite similar to being “home sick” when they originally left for the summer. Here again, this is very typical – it’s only matter of time, in a supportive environment that things will normalize.
For the most part, campers of all ages have had the time of their lives at overnight camp. The idea of missing camp is simply the result of a fabulous summer. At camp, your child met new friends, and developed meaningful relationships. Camp activities were exciting and exhilarating. Personal strengths were enhanced, and individual goals may have been achieved. The best news of all is that your child will quickly get “re-excited” to go back to camp next summer.
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