How to Help Parents With the Anxiety of Sending Their Kids Off to Camp

ACTIVE Network
March 19, 2020
December 6, 2019

The first day of camp is often filled with emotion, not just for the camper but for the parents, too. Even if the camper embraces their experience with open arms, mom and dad are often faced with the anxiety of allowing their child to venture out on their own for the very first time. The first days of camp, then, are about managing not just the nerves of new campers but of their parents as well. Help ease the anxiety of parents by taking these actions.

Outline Parent Communication Plans

Today’s parents are used to communicating with their child at the touch of a button and are understandably nervous about sending their kids off to camp, a place where their children are not immediately accessible (especially since many camps have a strict no-technology policy). To address these fears, set expectations about how often and through which means parents will be able to communicate with their kids, whether it’s a weekly phone call or via good ol’ fashioned letter writing. It’s also important to let parents know how they will be contacted and how they can best contact camp, should a true emergency arise.

Share Photos on Private Social Media Pages

Although parents may not be able to communicate with their children directly, it can help ease their fears by regularly posting photos of camp life to a private social media page, such as a private Facebook group set up for camp parents. When parents are able to see what their kids are up to at camp—and just how much fun they’re having—it will go a long way toward easing their anxiety.

Let Parents See Camp Before It Starts

Every parent can relate to how hard it is to hand your child over to a group of strangers. But giving them to professionals that feel like friends? Much easier! By welcoming parents onto campus before the session starts, they’ll get a chance to meet and connect with the staff, who will, in turn, get the opportunity to build trust with the parents; a win-win situation all around.

Connect New Parents With Seasoned Vets

Parents sending their kids off to camp for the first time can be comforted by meeting the parents of kids that have attended camp in the past. Hearing the positive stories and glowing word-of-mouth reviews from veteran parents is often all first-time parents need to feel good about leaving their kids in the capable hands of your staff. Whether you facilitate this connection during a camp open house or compile a list of veteran parents who are happy to chat with nervous newbies, helping parents of new campers forge bonds with experienced camp parents will go a long way toward easing anxieties.

Address Parent Fears

Studies show that parents worry about a number of things when sending their kids off to camp, including issues like camper safety. By addressing these fears in pre-camp communication and at orientation, you’ll show parents that you are aware of their fears and you’re actively addressing them at camp. Knowing that the things they worry about are things every camp parent has worried about in the past—and that you and your staff know how to deal with the things they fear—will set their worries at ease.

Make Camp Policies Accessible

Parents may worry about how the camp will respond should the unexpected happen, like an outbreak of illness or a natural disaster. Sharing all camp policies, including policies around how your camp will respond in emergency situations, will demonstrate to anxious parents that you have thought of and are prepared to respond to any unexpected emergencies that may arise while their child is there.

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