When Your Child Hates Day Camp

As parents, we hope that each of our children is going to hop off the camp bus each afternoon with a smile plastered on their face, eager to tell us about their wonderful day at camp. In reality, this is not always the case. Sometimes, even the simplest issues can make day camp a negative experience for your child. Don’t get discouraged. The first step in turning a negative experience into a positive one is to identify the underlying problem. Listed below are some helpful hints, which just might turn your child’s frown upside down.

5 Ways To Help A Child That Hates Camp:

  1. Stay Calm: As parents, we need to take a deep breath and not make any quick decisions.Sad boy on bus
  2. Remember: You sent your child to camp not only to have fun, but also to increase their independence and allow them an opportunity to grow socially. All of your child’s experiences will add to their social and emotional development.
  3. Get the Scoop: First and foremost, talk to your child; find out if they can tell you what it is about camp they don’t like. See if they can verbalize what specifically is negatively impacting their experience. Identifying the problem is always the first step to finding a solution. After speaking with your child, contact a reliable source at camp that you feel best knows your child. Gather information from them and let them in on what you have learned from your child. If you’re still at a loss as to why your child is so unhappy, ask the adult in charge if they have any ideas of what the problem might be. Try to identify the time of day or activity that might be causing your child to have a negative experience, or any social interactions that might be stressful.
  4. Remove the Roadblocks: You know your child best. If it is an activity that is causing your child to be upset at camp, come up with a solution. If your child is getting upset during swimming, maybe take them to the public pool and help them get comfortable in the water, so that they will be eager to jump into the pool at camp and show off their new skills. If the issue is as simple as a long, hot bus ride at the end of the day, consider meeting the bus at a halfway point to get your child, so that the ride is shortened. If your child is having any type of social issue, try role-playing with them to help increase their confidence.
  5. Turn the experience into a success, not a failure: Though nothing is harder than watching your child be unhappy, it is so important to show your child that you are not only totally supportive, but also that you have confidence in their ability to work through this roadblock. Problem solving is an essential life-long tool. Use these opportunities to help your child develop those skills!