Attending an overnight camp can be an incredible experience for children. It's a chance to create lifelong friendships, try new activities, and learn new skills in a setting that encourages independence and growth. A recent article by Harvard student, Rachel Kimball also suggests that there are hidden benefits to the brain. However, some children may be hesitant or nervous about attending camp for the first time. As a parent, here are some things you can say to a reluctant camper to help ease their fears and encourage them to attend overnight camp.

Highlight the Benefits

Focus on the benefits of attending overnight camp. Talk about the fun activities they'll get to try, the new friends they'll make, and the memories they'll create. Explain how attending camp can help them build confidence, independence, and social skills. Don’t forget to mention how they will get to explore the outdoors, get dirty, and safely break a few rules!

Share Your Own Experiences

Share any personal experiences you have with camp, whether it be attending as a child or working as a counselor. Share stories of the friends you made, the adventures you had, and the impact it had on your life. If you didn’t attend camp, find a neighbor or friend that did and ask them to share their experiences. Your child is bound to know someone at school that has gone to camp that will be happy to tell them all about it.

Address Their Fears

If your child is hesitant about attending camp, address any specific fears or concerns they have. Maybe they're worried about being homesick, not making friends, or trying new activities. Acknowledge their concerns and explain how camp can be a positive and supportive environment for them to step out of their comfort zone. Set-up a call with camp directors or camp staff that can help ease any fears they may have.

Let Them Know You're There for Support

Assure your child that you will be there to support them throughout the camp experience. Let them know they can write letters or ask the camp staff to reach out to you anytime they need to. Remind them that you will be writing letters and checking in with the camp often. This can help alleviate any homesickness or separation anxiety they may feel.

Empower Them to Make the Decision

Allow your child to do the research about camp with you. If you have a few difference camps in mind, allow them to watch the videos, speak with the camp staff and visit the websites. Ultimately, which overnight camp they attend should be a decision that your child feels empowered to make. Present the benefits and offer support, but ultimately let them decide which camp to attend.

In conclusion, attending overnight camp can be an incredible experience for children. By highlighting the benefits, sharing personal experiences, addressing fears, offering support, and empowering your child to make the decision of which camp to attend, you can help ease any reluctance they may have about attending camp and encourage them to embrace the opportunities and adventures it has to offer.