How to Battle the Summer Camp Blues

It’s that time of year again. Fresh, blooming flowers… bonfires and cookouts galore… But why is it that amongst this warm, summer heat, us parents still feel a sense of the sad, December chills? The answer is two words: summer camp.

Now, let me backtrack and mention that I’m specifically referring to the newbie parents. You know, the ones who still get fooled with the puppy eyes? Yeah, us.

Even though summer camp is supposed to be of enjoyment for our kids, and  burden-reliever from us, there’s still the same wave of sadness that occurs like when we drop them off at school for the first day. In light of Freestate Sports Arena’s Summer Camp starting this week, here’s a list of ways YOU (not your child) can prepare for the big, summer camp drop-off.

  1. Trust them; they’re in good hands. As a parent, it’s understandable that you’ll be protective over your little one- especially when you’re not around. Despite the craziness that goes on in the world, there are actually some people out there who have your child’s best interest at heart. Get a feel for the summer camp facility & staff, and trust your gut when deciding whether or not it’s the best fit for your child. Being informed and getting involved will dramatically lessen your worries!
  2. Don’t get jealous- you’re still Mommy/Daddy. Yes, your child is going to form a tight bond with a camp counselor/director/employee. It would be weird if they didn’t! Having been a counselor before, I can vouch that the objective of a camp staff is to make the children as comfortable as possible. Not just for peace or revenue for the camp, but because camp becomes their home away from home. They will get boo boos, and they will want piggy back rides. That does not mean your parental title is gone too.
  3. They have to grow up eventually. It’s not time to drop them off at their college dorms yet, though it may seem like it! So let’s take baby steps with our babies, and not be overdramatic when it’s finger painting day. They have to grow up and “leave the nest” eventually. So let’s practice now…
  4. Think about what chaos would erupt if summer camps didn’t exist. Your boss would NOT be okay with Take Your Child to Work day- everyday. No work would get done. Your notes for next week’s meeting would be a scribbling pad. And there’s only so much of The Backyardigans’ theme song one can take.

As you can see, thinking about the positives goes a long way. Most of us were campers ourselves, and never did we want Sally the camp counselor to replace our beloved Mommies. While it’s a parents job to worry, it’s also their job to not shelter their kids and keep them from the world forever. Camp is another opportunity for them to make new friends, learn new things, and have more fun. Yes, you have  a right to be upset and feel attached- they’ve been yours all this time. But maybe camp is the easy way to introduce them to the rest of the world.