Doing so often leads to a sense of guilt for your camper as they feel they might be miserable without them. Instead, discuss how much fun the camp experience is going to be for them. Tell them how you can’t wait to hear all about their fun adventures! Or, better yet, turn the conversation away from how much you’ll miss each other and instead focus on how much you love one another! You can never tell your child you love them too many times! Communicating with them in a positive way will free them up to enjoy the wonderful gift you have given them!
For example, “I’ll write you every day!” The truth is, you’ll probably be too busy to write (and they’ll be having too much fun to notice!) Instead, encourage them with, “I can’t wait to read your letters telling me about all the fun you are having. I will write you back too!” The worst mistake you can make is to promise to pick them up if they miss you or grow homesick. Offering to take them home instead of encouraging them to stick it out sets them up for failure. Instead, let them know you believe in them and that there is nothing they can’t do. Be positive, loving and supportive!
Remind them that they will be part of a cabin unit, which means sharing responsibilities and chores with their cabin-mates. Encourage them to try new things even if they are scared. Reinforce the truth that it’s more important to show love and kindness and respect to those around them than it is to be the best at something. Remind them that the best part of the summer camp experience is the friendship and discovery and non-stop fun!
Good-byes are always difficult, especially when they take place in a brand new setting like camp. However, as a parent, it is important that you remember your children will follow your lead. If you are clinging to your child, lingering or sobbing, they will follow suit. Likewise, if you are strong, encouraging and optimistic they will respond in kind! A tearful (but smiling) goodbye and a quick hug is a perfect way to send them off! Anything longer will only make your departure more difficult and might start your child off on the wrong foot. You may worry about coming off as cold or uncaring but, in the long run, a quick goodbye is the most loving thing you can do for your child while dropping them off!