HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR SCHOOL CAMP
How to prepare your child for school camp is important.
For most of us, going on school camp is one of the highlights of childhood. Some of those memories would be:
- The friends you went with, the friends you made
- Ccampfire games
- Cooking marshmallows on the campfire
- Making damper
- The stories and songs that became part of camp
- Finding your bunk room and who you shared it with
- The activities during your stay
- The food and eating with everyone’
- Seeing your teachers in a new light
- The funny injokes
But some of the concerns that kids may have:
- Who they’ll be sharing their bunk room with
- That they won’t have any friends
- That the might wet the bed
- That the food won’t be good
- They’ll get homesick
Even the most outgoing and confident child may have a few moments of separation anxiety as the time to leave gets closer.
We know how important it is to help your child feel positive abut going on camp and allow them to stretch their wings and keeping any of our own negative feelings to ourselves is essential.
Keep in mind that every challenge your child overcomes contributes to their self-confidence and resilience. This will hold them in good stead in the future when they face other unfamiliar situations.
Here are 7 tips to build confidence for your child for school camp
1. Have an informal chat to your child
Ask your child how they feel about camp. What are their fears? What are they excited about? This is the time to address any anxities or unnecessary mental obstables. Reassure them with your own positive experiences. Be constructive with comments such as “you’ll be with your friends and there are lots of fun activities”.
2. Lessen the sense of unknown
Keep in touch with your child’s teacher. Ask about the itinerary for the camp. Be across what your child will be doing and experiencing so you can be prepared to handle any questions they might have. Rooming requests are often a sticking point with kids. Please put trust in the teacher who prepares the room allocation. They know their students and they’ll have reasons why they make the decisions they do. If you child is extremely anxious, discuss this with the teacher and reassure your child you’ve had that conversation.
If the campsite has a website, view it with your child so they have an idea of where they are staying.
3. Has your child had a sleepover before?
If not, now is the time to have a practice sleepover at a family members home or perhaps a close friend. You can then build on their past successes. I recommend you do this months in advance so they have some ‘wins’ on the board before going on camp.
4. Practise ‘independence’ skills at home
Does your child get themselves ready in the morning, can shower themselves, know what to wear, apply sunscreen, aware of time deadlines? If your child is going on a camp where they will be preparing some of their food, have them practice how to cut a potato or carrot. Teach them about safety around hot pots and saucepans. The basics of cooking. Practising at home will give them confidence.
5. Prepare and plan. Pack together.
Your teacher will supply you with a list of what to bring. With your child you can lay out on a table what you have, and then note what things you may need to shop for. Have your child do this with you, so they know what is packed. Don’t pack their bag for them! Label their things as lost items are inevitable. Letting them pack makes it more real and builds the excitement. If you need to pack a memento or special toy (teddy), then that’s perfectly okay.
6. Keep communication oopen with teachers
Appreciate that your child’s teacher has probably taken 100’s of students on camp over the years. They know that both the student and the parent are probably stepping outside their comfort zone, especially if it’s their first school camp.
Keep the lines of communication open and respectful. If your child has any particular needs, let them know well in advance so plans can be made to accommodate them.
7. Be positive
Encourage your child be saying they’ll have a great time on camp and you’re looking forward to hearing about their adventures.
Talk with your child about their worries and fears and acknowledge them but also work them through so they are prepared.
They may be teary as the bus leaves but usually within minutes they are so busy chatting with their friends, they’ve forgotten what they were worried about.
Most schools have a stepped program on camps and therefore, your child will be attending several times through the schooling years. Building on what they learnt from the last camp to the next helps validate their memories and experiences.
Just don’t give up, keep encouraging them and helping them to get ready for what could be a highlight of their childhood!
How to prepare your child for school camp just takes some small steps. If you’d like to know what to bring on camp go to our other blog post here
If you’d like to watch a brief video on Camping with Kids – How to Set Them Up For Success click here