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Preparing Your Kids for Camp
Whether your child is a new camper or has been to camp for many years, it is normal for them to worry about what might happen at camp or for them to miss home while there. As a parent, you might also be anxious about the experience your child will have at camp. Read below for some tips on how to help your child both before and during camp.
- Be positive about the camp experience.
- Talk with your child about all of the fun things they will do at camp. If they love swimming, remind them about the time they will spend in the pool and the lake. If they have been to a day camp or a Hebrew school retreat, remind them of how much they enjoyed meeting new kids or singing songs on Shabbat.
- Practice sleeping away and self-care
- If your child has never spent nights away from home, now is a great time to start practicing with sleepovers at Grandma’s or at a friend’s home. Use these practices to brainstorm ways in which your child can comfort themselves when they do get homesick.
- Prepare with reviewing camp
- Having a plan or information about camp can be comforting for some children. Take time to explore our website, read the parent manual, and watch our videos with your child.
- Check out this video of why our campers love camp
- Send your child to one of our BB Breaks or attend Family Camp
- B’nai B’rith Camp has year round programs perfect for your child to meet other campers and it is a chance for you to meet staff, as well as other parents. Check out our calendar for upcoming events in Portland http://bbcamp.org/city-events/
- Avoid making deals
- It can be tempting to make a deal with your child that you will bring them home if they want after a few days of camp. This kind of deal sets a child up to fail because it starts them with negative ideas about camp. Instead, encourage them to make and effort and remind them of how brave they are.
- Share your worries with other adults, not your child
- Just like your child, it is normal for you to feel anxious about sending them away or to miss them while they are at camp. However, continuously telling your child how much you, grandma, and the family pet are going to miss them will often make children feel guilty about going and having fun at camp. Instead just say ““I love you and can’t wait to hear about your new friends, the activities, and your counselors.”
- Send a piece of home with them
- It can be comforting to have something that reminds them of home while at camp. Send a picture of the family or their pet, a small safety blanket, or pillow (but maybe not their favorite thing in case it gets lost).
- Send a box or letters
- You can write and send care packages to your child at camp! Receiving mail is always fun at camp. Just remember to keep the letters positive and encouraging. You can send letters/boxes here:
Camper’s Name / Grade in Fall 2017
P.O. Box 110
Neotsu, OR 97364
- Have fun yourself!
- As we have mentioned, it is completely normal for you to miss your child. Just like you will encourage your child to have fun at camp and try new things, we would like to encourage you to do the same. Take time to check our Facebook page for updates, but also remember to do fun things that will help you cope with your child being away.
Written by Shayna Sigman, BB Camp’s Inclusion Coordinator, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org