Sending your child to summer camp for the first time can be an exciting, but also worrisome time. You and your child may be feeling similar emotions heading into the season: The combina- tion of excitement mixed with the uncertainty of the program, and concerns about whether your child will enjoy their day and make friends along the way.
If you fear your child may have a hard time making friends at camp, there are a few ways you can help them feel more comfortable. Parents can help their children relax by showing a positive attitude and letting them know how excited they are for them to attend camp. Once camp begins, encourage your kids to make eye contact and smile when greeting someone new. If your children are good at remembering names, encourage them to call new acquaintances by their names. Practice some conversation starters with your child so they’ll be ready to strike up a conversation when the moment hits.
At the end of each camp day, ask your kids about the experience. “Did you meet anyone new?” “What are their names?” “Do they enjoy some of the same things?” Keep follow-up conversations light and upbeat. Even if your child doesn’t remember names, or didn’t meet someone new, that’s ok. They will have many chances to make new friends over the duration of camp. In addition, don’t ever hesitate to speak with your child’s camp counselor to see how your child is progressing socially.
The Y has been a leader in providing summer camp for over 130 years. Locally, the Freehold YMCA offers day camp options for children 3-15 yrs. of age from June 24 through August 30. To learn more about Freehold Y summer camp, visit www.ymcanj.org/bestsummerever, or call 732.462.0464.