Sending your child on a school camping trip can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. You want your child to have fun and learn new things while being safe, confident, and comfortable.
It's not just sleeping away from home that can be challenging for kids. Getting ready and prepared without the help of grown-ups can also trigger feelings of anxiety.
Research has shown that getting dressed and organized for camp activities can be a significant source of stress for some children, especially those experiencing homesickness or social anxiety.
Another study published in the Journal of Paediatric Nursing found that anxiety related to camp preparation, including packing and organizing belongings, can lead to increased homesickness and adjustment difficulties during the camp experience.
But there are things that you can do to help ease your child's worry, most of it in good preparation.
Talk it out
Talking through what to expect during the camp can go a long way in helping your child feel more prepared and confident.
Tell them you understand they feel nervous and discuss what they might expect:
- Visually show on a calendar the days they will be with their classmates
- Look the destination up online and look through some images of the campsite - show them what there is to look forward to
- Explain how they'll stay in cabins or tents and have a bunk or tent mate as a buddy
- Tell them about fun activities they have to look forward to, like hiking, swimming, and playing games
- Reassure them that their teachers and friends are there to support them
- Normalise feeling nervous or homesick when you're away from home - big kids get homesick too!
- Be positive and excited that you can't wait to hear all about their adventures when they're home.
Practice makes happy campers
Chat through getting dressed and organized, and help them practice packing their clothes and toiletries and rolling up their sleeping bag or mattress sheets.
Use the Clover changing robe to simplify the stress of the changing rooms, and show them how to use the Clover pockets to carry their toothbrush and paste, hair brush and underwear to make carrying their things easier.
Practice hanging up their Clover to help it dry and keep hygienic, and reassure them that they'll have privacy while getting in and out of their robe.
Watch some lighthearted movies.
Watching a camping movie with your child before heading to camp can be a great way to get them excited and prepared for the camping experience; here are some ideas:
- The Parent Trap (1998): This classic movie follows two identical twins who meet at summer camp and hatch a plan to reunite their estranged parents. The movie has many camping scenes, including outdoor activities, cabin life, and campfire songs.
- Camp Rock (2008): This Disney Channel original movie is a musical comedy that follows a group of teens as they attend a music camp. The movie features lots of singing, dancing, and scenes of camp life and outdoor activities.
- Heavyweights (1995): This comedy follows a group of overweight boys attending a weight loss camp run by a strict and eccentric owner. The movie has plenty of camp hijinks and outdoor adventures and teaches a message of self-acceptance and friendship.
- Moonrise Kingdom (2012): This quirky indie film tells the story of two young runaways who fall in love and set out on a camping adventure together. The movie has a whimsical, Wes Anderson-style feel and features beautiful outdoor scenery and plenty of camping scenes.
- The Great Outdoors (1988): This comedy classic stars John Candy and Dan Aykroyd as two families who go camping together. The movie has many laughs and outdoor adventures and is fun to get in the camping spirit with your child.
Prepare ahead of time
Make sure that you're setting the right energy by being prepared with all of the camping gear they need before they head off. You can get our handy printable checklist to help make packing easier.
Order your Clover Kids lightweight and compact changing robe, crossing off the need for bulky towels or toiletry bags and saving space for other things.
We hope you and your child have a wonderful time preparing for camp together!