Coping With Camp

For thousands, the camp experience has been a long-standing family tradition. For others, the camp experience seems almost counterintuitive. Send your child off to camp for maybe weeks at a time? Why?

"As parents, recognizing that you and your child are growing and learning on a journey together is key to adequately preparing yourself and your child for any type of separation, including going to camp for the first time," states Peg Smith, executive director of the American Camp Association (ACA).

Following are helpful tips to consider as you ask yourself, "Who's going through separation anxiety, me or my child?"

Opportunities for children to experience healthy, successful separation help them discover who they are and recognize their strengths. "As children prepare to eventually leave home permanently, I often wonder who is being prepared during each separation experience throughout a child's lifeā€”the growing child or the maturing adult," comments Smith. "I think it proves learning is a lifelong process."

Reprinted by permission of the American Camp Association; © 2005