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The Hood Magazine

Summer Camp Trauma

Feb 27, 2020 09:06AM ● By Holly Liston

By: Holly Liston

I remember finally turning 9 years old and being able to attend summer camp for the first time. What an exciting time looking forward to summer camp!  

So how does summer camp and trauma fit together? For some children the experience could prove scary or even traumatic. Leaving parents for the first time and being away from them for a few days or week can be deeply distressing for children. Preparing children for summer camp can benefit them in many ways and reduce any stress or anxiety they might be feeling. 

Below are a few tips to assist in planning for summer camp: 

  • Involve your child in choosing the camp, as well as the application process. Help them choose a camp that supports and promotes their interests. 

  • Explain the details of the camp to your child. Include the location, how long they will be there, what they will be learning and activities they can expect to be involved in. Provide them with any information that will be helpful to them. 

  • Introduce your child to staff at the camp either on the day they arrive or before if possible. 

  • Count down the days on a calendar beginning a week or two before camp begins to create excitement, but also use the opportunity to check in on how they are feeling about attending camp. 

  • Allow your child to bring a small toy or something special from home that is approved by the camp. This will provide security for them if they become homesick or miss their family. 

  • Provide everything your child will need for the camp stay with nothing extra that could distract them from enjoying their time at camp. 

As for parents, this can be a difficult time as well. Leaving your child can be upsetting and you will miss your child while they are away. Try to be confident and positive for your child so they can have the best summer camp experience! Remember, in a blink of an eye you will be dropping them off at college, try to embrace this experience of allowing your child to be on their own at summer camp!