The kids have left the house for the summer, or at least a portion of the summer, and you are having withdrawals. No one to feed, no one to “encourage” to clean their rooms or brush their teeth. All the moments you spend pushing your kids out the door for the start of school are now YOUR moments. So often we fill those glorious, wonderful, relaxing moments wondering what the kids are up to as they play in their new summer home.
So here are the top 6 tips for staying in touch with your kids while they are at sleepaway camp.
1. Snail Mail. Although old fashion these days, it is most certainly the best way to stay in touch with your kids. Many parents write a small postcard or letter each day, and often times start the week before so that your child will have mail waiting for them when they arrive at camp. WARNING!!!! Do not tell your children how lonely you are for them. Just ask lots of questions about their days….
2. E-mails. Today, many camps have services that allow you to send an email to your child. The camp will print it out and deliver it to them as if it was a letter. It is definitely easy for you to whip out a quick note each day. Warning remains. Do not press send if you have shared anything painful about your days without your child.
3. Cell Phones. This is a great one. Many parents just cannot unleash their children and even though the camp clearly states that cell phones are not permitted, the very clever parent has sent their child with TWO cell phones — one for expected confiscation and the other for their use. But beware – cell service is very bad at most camps and more seriously, LET YOUR KIDS GO!! Needless to say, the camps know and your child will ultimately lose the second phone.
4. Scheduled Phone Calls. During the summer, you will most likely have an opportunity to speak with your child at least one time per session. The schedule is sent out, time and date confirmed and your child is escorted to the phone bank at camp to have the mandatory call with the parents. Please keep your expectations low as to the success of this phone call. You can prepare a small list of questions just in case your child doesn’t just explode with information. Or if your child starts to cry on the phone that they miss you, understand that this is very normal. After the call, life returns to normal and play begins with a bang.
5. Visiting Day. If your child is going for the full summer, there is typically a day to visit camp. They really should call it non-stop junk food day. Every parent tends to bring boat loads of junk food that has been requested by their child for the day… and of course, you must bring for the entire cabin. Wonderful day all around to see your child in their summer home.
6. Camp Paparazzi. Camps have really changed since back in the day. There are now professional photographers and videographers hired to capture your child’s summer on film primarily to post on line to allow parents to see their children in action. This has become such a large part of camp now because the parents are DEMANDING the constant updates. The kids are often annoyed and hide from the cameras. The result is a call to the camp director by the parent asking what is wrong with their child?
So great to keep in touch with your children but also remember one of the main reasons to send them to camp…. to develop independence. Let them go and fill your moments with things you enjoy doing.