As a parent, you may have had nerves about sending your daughter off to summer camp for the first time. We know that kid-sickness is a real thing, and that so many parents are beyond ready to welcome our campers back when the end of a camp session arrives. While most parents focus on supporting their children through the transition into camp, the journey home is an adjustment too. Here’s our staff’s best advice on making that transition as supportive and meaningful as her experiences at camp.
Turn Your Listening Ears On
Any parent who has sent a kids to camp knows that plenty of stories come home when the campers do. For a whole month, your daughter lived with new people and dove into all kinds of new activities and experiences. She wants to share her camp experience with you, and this storytelling is part of how she processes the transition from camp to home. Listen to her stories and encourage her to share her experiences. When she knows you’re listening and relating to her stories, she will start to draw parallels between what she learned at camp and the rhythm of her everyday life.
Observe How She’s Grown and Affirm Her For It
In one way or another, your daughter will be different when she comes home from camp. She may have grown her bravery, her ability to connect with new friends, or her curiosity about nature, sports, singing, or sleeping under the stars. Listen for themes like bravery and curiosity and then affirm her for how much she grew in a short period at camp. This affirmation will help solidify the confidence she gained and camp, and it will help her feel like you get where she’s coming from.
Be Ready For Some Big Emotions
Your daughter has had so many new experiences in her time away from home. When girls are getting ready to go back to their families, they talk about being excited to see parents, siblings and friends they missed. She’ll likely be elated to see you, to sleep in her own bed, and to return to the familiar. When she gets home, she might be surprised to find waves of sadness about being away from her new friends or the routine she got into at camp. Let her know that it’s a big transition and that while she may keep missing camp, she’ll settle back into life at home.
Give Her Some Time To Decompress
While we make sure girls get a good night’s sleep each night at camp, we know that your daughter will likely need rest and time to recover when she gets home. She may decompress by sleeping, taking it easy, spending time alone, talking with you about her camp experiences, or journalling. The most important thing is to know that if she seems like she needs some rest to decompress from camp, she definitely does.
Help Her Find the Spirit of Camp at Home
If your daughter is really missing camp and having a tough time transitioning, ask her to help you recreate something special from camp at home. Ask her to teach you one of her favorite songs or games from camp or try to recreate a recipe she loved from the camp kitchen. She may want to roast s’mores in the yard, find an archery club to join, or try going on a family hike now and then. Encourage her to find ways to pursue her new interests at home, and remind her that next Summer gets closer every day!
Take Care Of You
While you missed your camper when she was away, it can also be a bit of an adjustment for parents to integrate their daughter back into life at home. If the first few days from camp feel like a bit of a mess or an emotional rollercoaster, know that it’s totally normal for kids to need a bit of decompression time when camp is over.
So when she’s resting, try to take some time for yourself too. Better yet, drag both of your sleeping bags into the yard for a little rest and stargazing together.