Category: Summer Guide for Parents

Full Summer Camping-The Best!

by Karen Meister

Summer lasts for 3 months…  And letting go of your babies for what feels like the whole summer can be scary the first time.  52 days is a typical full summer camp and that is just not happening (says many the first year)…..  So here is what probably goes on once they leave and you have only committed to a half summer.

You will:

  1. Go to work, in the home or out of the home.
  2. No lunches to make, no beds to make, no need to rush the kids out of the house so you can add an extra “fill in the blanks”  (workout routine, cooking class, reading time…).
  3. Several hours a day sitting in front of the computer pouring over the 500 pictures posted by the camp in order to find the one picture of your child (smiling, grumpy, busy, messy)….
  4. Start creating the to-do list of big projects.
  5. Prepare for the grown up trip you plan to take with your significant other.
  6. Enjoy your trip and return to the to-do list that never left the drawing board.
  7. Welcome the kids home from camp or go to visiting day and pick them up.
  8. Do laundry and hear stories.
  9. Go back to work and send the kids to day camp, back to making lunches and rushing them out the door.
  10. Wonder why you thought 26 days was too long….
You now have the kids home for almost 6 more weeks before school starts again.  And the thoughts going through your mind are:
  1. Let’s take a short family vacation to break up the 6 weeks.  Can we afford it?
  2. It is really hot and raining almost every day.  The kids are getting a bit grouchy and the camp carpool line is crazy!
  3. I thought I would save money keeping them home but it is costing me so much money in activities!
  4. Never did get anything done on my to-do list….
  5. I am glad to have the kids back but wow, I really enjoyed the break.
  6. And they seemed to be really happy….
  7. What if after visiting day, they stay… how would it be?
  8. Hmmmm…. it really went fast, almost too fast.
  9. I still have lots of time with them all June….
  10. Maybe next year???
After so many years of talking to thousands of families, who ultimately do send their kids away for the whole summer, I share this dialogue because there is no reason to be afraid from the very start.  There are many different camps that offer a significant change in the way camp is run because EVERYONE attends for a whole summer.  The bonding, the camaraderie, the lifelong friendships from day one, are amazing.  So before you just say “no way” to full summer camping, think about it.  The kids will definitely be able to handle it.  We now just have to get you on board.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.


Camp-sickness Cures

 

by Karen Meister

Yes, yes.  School is just a few weeks away.  Your child has either arrived home or this information will help you get prepared for their return.

Thankfully, your child had the best summer and can only talk about camp and wishes desperately to return.  Congratulations!!  You did a great job in preparing your child for independence and success at camp.  And now, you get to deal with the aftermath.  Just keep remembering the free time you had all summer, take a deep breath and here are some tips to help the whole family re-enter!!

1.  Work on the photo album.  You spent hours looking at the computer for the perfect picture of your “happy” child.  You have saved them.  Work together to create a keepsake album of the summer of 2016 ie using a program like Snapfish.  With each picture, take the time to hear the story and get a one sentence caption that can be included.  So many good things come from this exercise:

  • you will relive the summer through your child’s stories without them feeling like you are interrogating
  • you will get your child thinking in a structured and goal-specific way which will help ease the transition into school
  • your child will be able to appreciate all the accomplishments now and into the future.

2.  Allow electronics time.  Fresh air was fabulous for the summer, but with television and computers now available, they may appear to be stuck in cyber-space for a while.  Let them.  And yet, if it gets out of hand, there is such power in the code for the router.  Loved the family that had the chores chart  that had to be completed in order to get the wifi password of the day!

3.  Speaking of chores, make the wheel.  At camp, your child had chores and a wheel was made to give everyone a turn to do each chore.  Why not keep this going into the school year?  Ask what chores were on the wheel and include the whole family.  Granted it may not last throughout the school year, but you can get away with it right now.

4.  Laundry.  It will be everywhere since camp bags come home after your child.  When it arrives, it will bring back memories as well as smells.  Make sure to include your child in the unpacking and washing.  There maybe something special, sentimental or private in there.  Let them be a part of the process.

5.  Personal Grooming.  Depending upon the age of your child, camp time may have been a big break when it came to showers, hair and tooth brushing.  Older children will be thrilled to come back to a real shower; younger not so much.  Most important thing is to allow the process to evolve without a fight.  If there are bracelets all over their arms, or a color war color in their hair, let it be.  It will fall off or grow out.

6.  Health Check.  This is important.  Whether your child allows or not, inspect their whole bodies for lice, fungi, bites, infections or bulls eyes.  If they are walking funny, or refuse to put on shoes, or whatever signal you get that something may be wrong, confront it immediately.  Camp memories are great, but camp infections have no place at home.

Please share your camp stories with me.  And if by some chance, there was a problem this summer, let’s discuss.  Sometimes it may be the camp, sometimes your child and their relationship with a camper or counselor, or they may have outgrown their camp.  Either way, don’t jump to conclusions or panic.  Let it go for a week or so and give me a call.   We can figure out the next steps together.

Best of luck with the start of school and please send me lots of picture and stories.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Not just a Camp Expert

by Karen Meister

This was a great summer!  I have been fortunate to receive feedback from so many of the families I have sent on summer experiences.  But there were a few special phone calls worth sharing because they represent situations in which many may find themselves.  And these types of calls make my “job” as your Camp Expert so very rewarding.

CALL ONE - HOMESICKNESS

I spoke to a mom during the summer regarding homesickness.  Her child suffered a couple of years ago, skipped camp the following year, and then went to a new camp this year.  Mom was hoping the change in camp would alleviate the problem, but alas, this was not the case.  Because she was concerned that homesickness would be a problem, arrangements were made to allow phone calls to be made home.  Although she loved the activities, she was unhappy.  Mom agreed that

The goal was to help her daughter overcome her homesickness and successfully enjoy camp.   

- The plan:  I suggested she call the camp director AND the front line counselor and ask them to be part of the team to help her daughter find success at camp.  The camp diverted her away from using phone calls as a way to solve problems and the mom was not going to be available every second to receive a call if in fact, it came in.  The child had a go-to counselor for the special time, special hug or anything she needed during her stay.

The result:  mom called and said that her daughter is happy, healthy, and wants to stay at camp.

The lesson:  feeling homesick is a normal transition for many people (including adults).  However, in order to grow and ultimately become an independent adult, you must allow your child to find a solution to the problem and move on towards success.  It takes time to get to independent living and if time allows, please let your children go to camp for a minimum of 3 weeks.

 

CALL TWO – THE RIGHT FIT

A mom had a child that attended camp where the neighbors went.  Every year she came home unhappy and every year, the parents felt that she would figure out how to be happy.  The price was good, the place was safe and she would just figure it out as she grew up a little bit more.  But finally, as an avid follower of LifeMeisters, and receiving articles for years, she finally called.

She called to say thank you AND to tell me that she was absolutely amazed that through a phone conversation, I was able to help her find the most perfect program for her daughter.  She wanted to know how I could possibly have done this without ever meeting her daughter in person.  My answer is really three-fold.

1.  After 13 years as a Camp Expert, I have personally visited programs around the country, learned about the population they serve and “don’t serve”, the camp directors’ personalities and purpose, and of course, the activities.

2.  I have learned how to be an active listener”.   A technique used typically by therapists, I have learned to truly listen to the dynamic of the entire family and ask very directed questions to help a parent really open up during our confidential chat.

3.  I have been through it already personally….  I am your big sister!

 

CALL THREE – Middle Schoolers Change

Five years ago, I placed a set of twins at a wonderful camp and both of the kids were happy… a boy and a girl.  Five years go by and the girl continues to be deliriously happy and the boy is the exact opposite.  The parents both called to say that there must be something terribly wrong with the boys side of camp that after five years, their son is so terribly unhappy.  We discussed possible bullying situations, the potential that there was truly a problem on boy’s side, and then we discussed the natural progression of maturation during young adolescent years.

Their son was not interested in the social girl scene as were many of the other boys at this stage.  He wanted to continue to play ball, be dirty, and be a kid.  The pressure of the coed camp was no longer a good fit.  The camp had not changed, but he was developing at a different rate than many of the other kids in his group.  We found a new program nearby that was a better fit for his current stage of life and he is soooo happy.  We made sure visiting days at two camps could be accommodated and both kids AND parents are happy.

Moral of the story:  Don’t be hard on yourself or your kids if they don’t stay with the same camp for their whole life.  There is so much world to see and for many, especially during those middle school years, an alternative program is very appropriate.

If you are looking for a summer camp, looking for a switch, or just curious as to what might be available for your child, teen and/or family, let’s get to know each other.  It will be fun!!

 

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Refresh Refresh

by Karen Meister

All of a sudden, you have some free time.  The endless hours of childcare don’t exist right now because the kids have left for sleepaway camp.  You have a list of projects you are thinking about tackling while they are gone.  But, you just can’t seem to step away from the computer.  Of course, the camps post endless pictures of the kids at play and you MUST make sure that you see the pictures “hot off the presses” — so to speak.  And if you don’t see your child each day, in some new activity with a smile on their face, you have to call the camp and ask if he/she is alive, happy, hurt, sad, or who knows what.

Imagine how the kids feel.  During the summer, they are supposedly trying to get away from anything electronic.  Their cell phones have been extricated, they no longer get email, they have to write letters using paper and pencil (they have forgotten how to use them), and some photographer is constantly in their face to appease mom in front of the computer at home.  UGH!!!

I most certainly was guilty of the same, but was able to eventually pry myself away from the computer and found so many great things to do with that wonderful extra time during the summer.   So what to do with that extra time??

I am so curious to find out what activities are on your list.  Just click here and share your plans!!

So just remember, while your kids are ducking the photographer because it makes it harder to sink that basket, or hit an awesome serve, or make the napkin holder for you, or practice for the play during visiting day, practice what you are preaching to the kids.

Go live…  Unplug… Strive for independence…. Learn new things…. Make new friends….  Enjoy!!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Tips on Letter Writing to Your Kids at Camp

by Karen Meister

Great Letters come with a bit of effort and creativity.  Not every letter has to be the greatest, but put the effort in at least once a week.

There are a couple of categories to consider:

 

1.  Current Events

This is certainly a summer of many current events.  Depending upon the age of your child, you can include information about:

  • the Olympics
  • baseball stats
  • elections
  • scientific discoveries

2.  Humor

There are many ways to make your child laugh during the summer.  For example,

  • write from a different persepctive such as the family pet
  • share a little something funny that happened during the day
  • pretend like you are one of their favorite cartoon characters
  • make up a poem
  • start a game with them so that they are encouraged to write back to play the game
  • interesting things you found under the bed, in the closet or behind the desk while cleaning
3.  Send a book and read together
If you and your child are both reading the same book, you can talk about the book and thoughts on particular characters.
If you have thoughts, share as well.
Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

School to summer transition coming

by Karen Meister

The “change” is about to arrive.  Settling into a new routine can be problematic AND enjoyable for the whole family.  So here are some tips to help you and your whole family, transition into summer.

  • Prepare your children.  The last few days of school typically end earlier than standard.  During this time, you can create opportunities to identify changes in the coming weeks as it relates to fun, chores, bedtime and more.  It is important to let everyone know that although their vacation may be starting, your home is not a dumping ground and the parents are not the slaves.
  • Start a countdown. If you are planning a trip or getting ready for camp, highlight the first day of summer break on your family calendar and make it a point to show the calendar to your child each day. Put a big colorful picture of launch day on the calendar as well.  Use a fun activity to figure out how many days are left until the big event starts!
  • Flesh out your “to do” calendar.  Many activities will have to be done before the big day.  Identify the tasks such as shopping, packing, labeling, doctors visits etc.  Make appointments with professionals as well as with yourself and children.  Get everyone on board so there are no surprises.
  • Allow flexibility but also have structure.  The greatest freedom comes from knowing what must be done, what can be done and what times are dedicated to keeping it open.  Without any structure at all, there will be great frustration on everyone’s part.  So make a plan and build in open moments.
  • Safety remains key.  Teachers and camp directors will tell you the greatest fear is during open time at the playground when everyone’s guard is down.  Make sure your child has free time in safe environments and be vigilant, not just when they are in the pool but at all times.
  • Summer programs.  If not enrolled already, summer programs and activities are a great way for a child or teen to break up the summer a bit.  South Florida can get hot, humid and of course, very rainy.  Getting away for as little as one week can be terrific for the whole family.  Contact Camp Experts and Teen Summers today to find programs that still have space for your specific needs.

What ideas do you have that help with the transition to summer?  Please share.   Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Camp Packing Trick

How’s this for an amazing trick?  Had to share as you get ready for camp packing….  Brought to you by Karen@CampExperts.com….  If you still need help with summer plans, for children, tweens and teens, call me right away at 305-931-5437.

 

Camp Experts Packing List

Packing-for-Camp To Do’s

by Karen Meister

There is so much going on right now that your head must be spinning.  Awards ceremonies, finals and AP exams!  One month left of school and so many days of summer still unplanned.  Too many procrastinators for sure.  And although there is still space, and we can find it for you, this article is dedicated to the PLANNERS!!  (Listen to the slow clap in the background….)

So if you are one to prepare in advance, here is a simple and organized “to-do list” to prepare for sleepaway camp!   Click here for a great packing spreadsheet.

    • Plan Ahead — The camp will be sending you a list of items that are required, whether they go for 2 weeks or 7.  Beyond shopping for clothing, the early order list will include:  duffle bags and name labels that go on EVERYTHING.  In addition, you need to know when the truck will be picking up the duffles in order to work backwards and deliver the bags to the loading site on time.  If you are sending your kids to a uniform camp, you need to order those items in advance.

 

    • Review Camp Packing Lists — Individual camps should provide a recommended camp packing list, complete with any required equipment, preferred footwear, etc. Be sure to carefully review what is needed, with special attention to those items that may not be permitted at camp. Before packing your camper’s favorite game system or cell phone, be sure that the camp permits electronic items. Most camps do not allow electronic items in camp or at least out of the cabin.

 

    • Label Everything — Laundry pens, iron-ons, and press and stick labels will distinguish your camper’s belongings from those of other cabin mates. Most camps ask that you label each item, including clothing, personal items, and toiletries. Make sure that your child can identify the label used.  And if you have multiple children, with the potential of hand-me-downs in the future, consider just labeling with the last name.

 

    • Break in Shoes and Boots Before Camp Begins — Make sure that your child’s clothing and footwear are comfortable and appropriate. Sending a camper in brand-new hiking boots can result in sore feet and time spent sitting out of exciting activities.

 

    • Prepare Together — The more ownership your camper has in selecting items to bring, as well as the action of packing, the easier will be their adjustment and transition to camp.  In our house, packing became a contest.  Each child packed their own “stuff”.  They completed their spreadsheet and placed the items in front of their duffles for parental review.  (It sounds like drill Sargent tactics but we made it into a game — at least at the beginning — LOL!).  We would check off all the items together and place them in the bags.  A copy of the spreadsheet was put into the duffle bag and went to camp.  At the end of the summer, they had their list and went scurrying around looking for all the items on the list, would check it off as they  put it BACK into the duffle to come home. A week after their return from camp, their smelly bags would make it home and we unpacked and checked off to see which one of the boys brought home the most “stuff”.  Every year, it was the same winner and he typically brought back everything.  An age appropriate prize was awarded and we had a system each year that became a part of their excitement to go back to camp.

And don’t forget, after everything is packed, make sure to hide a few surprises!!   Make sure to contact us for some great ideas!!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

What Did You Do This Summer?

by Karen Meister

The kids have been away all summer.  You decided, before they left, that you were going to take care of some things that you had not had time to address during the school year.  You are psyched, have a plan and before you know it, the kids are either back or on their way back in one more week.

Did you accomplish what you wanted?  Learn to salsa with your spouse?  Vacation?  Clean your file cabinet?  Did you accomplish anything?  When the kids come home and ask how YOUR summer was, what are you going to tell them?

The reason I pose this question is that many parents are afraid to give their children the gift of summer independence because they don’t know what they will do with themselves.  They are either afraid that:

  • their purpose will cease to exist,
  • they will actually have to talk with their spouse,
  • they will be expected to accomplish something other than relaxation, or
  • they feel that it is selfish to send the kids away and have nothing that must be taken care of.

If you have not yet sent the kids away, what dreams do you have of accomplishing?  Trust me, a mini episode of empty nest syndrome is a real issue.  When the kids leave for college, there does exist a real sense of depression.  A summer without the children can be unsettling.  More articles to come on how to handle these feelings.  But…

Don’t deny your children the opportunity to learn incredible life skills at sleepaway camp because of your fears.

So what will you tell your kids you did with your summer 2015?

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305-931-5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world. 

Will they go back to the same camp?

by Karen Meister

Some of the kids are home, and some are expected in a week to ten days.  The summer has flown by and it is already time to get school supplies, uniforms, and finally get to the reading list that was never started.  How did it go so quickly?

End of the summer rituals at camp are special.  Color war, end of summer banquet, awards, the final campfire, the tears as you hop on the bus to go home or to the airport.  A very special time in the life of a child.  These memories and bonds are being formed for life.  The longer a child stays at the same camp, the tighter will be the forever bonds that are formed.  And yet, staying at the same camp for 7 or 8 years is not right for everyone.

Sometimes you have selected a camp based on the child who you have at 8 years old.  The camp will be the same as they get older.  But is that still right for your child?

The camp is competitive, non-competitive, recreational, instructional, too far, too close or whatever it may be to you on a particular day that you choose.  But with one to two years of your child’s growth as well as your experience and understanding of the offering of the camp, you may question whether you have made the right choice.  The question is good; the question should be asked; and there should be no finger pointing of blame.  This is called growth — both by child and parent.

So what are the next steps?  Do the homework.  Welcome your children with opened arms upon their return and ask how their summer was.  What did they love?  What did they not love?  What would they change if they could?  Hear them.  Make sure that if there is a sense of disatisfaction, that it is not a challenge with an individual but the offering of the camp.  Personal and personnel challenges are found everywhere and running away from these issues will do nothing to teach your child strength.  It will teach your child how to successfully run away.

However, there are times where the match between you and your child’s needs and the camp no longer mesh.  This is okay.  And moving to an alternative early in the process is a wonderful thing to do, still allowing time for the correction AND life long friends.  Don’t be afraid to investigate alternatives.  I looked at academic alternatives for my children every year.  I review my health care policy every year.  Why not review your camp choice each year?

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305-931-5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world. 

They Stayed At Visiting Day

We can’t go home! It’s crazy hat day!

It’s their first summer at camp and you were a nervous wreck.  So you signed them up for a half season.  You get to visiting day and your children have had their family meeting with each other in preparation for your arrival.

They give you big hugs and kisses, accept all the presents.  They show you everything they have done.

Then they burst out in unison….

PLEASE LET US STAY THE REST OF THE SUMMER!!!!!!!!!

Now what??  You approach the camp director with this wonderful dilemma and the director says…. of course!  We would really love for them to stay.  They have been the greatest campers and we would love to have them stay for the rest of the summer.

Wow!  What a turn of events!  Things could not have made you happier of course because you were so nervous they would not be able to make it for the whole summer.  In fact, everyone seems to have been just fine.  If you, the parents!!

If this happened to you, let me know.  It happened to me when I was a kid visiting my sister at sleepaway camp.  With only the clothes on my back, I staye for the remainder of the summer.  Clothes were borrowed and sent from home a few days later.

Tell me your stories.  Send pictures and stories to Karen@CampExperts.com.

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305-931-5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Three Weeks Till Camp Is Over

by Karen Meister

You finally decided to send your kids to camp for the entire summer.  The first 3 1/2 weeks, you were permanently perched in front of the computer looking for photographic hints as to their mental condition.  You arrived at visiting day and hugged, kissed, cried, cleaned their cabin area and left them with tons of goodies.  You left thinking….

OMG!!  They are going to be home in 3 weeks and I have done nothing with the summer!!!!!!

So, you have 3 weeks left. What will you do?  What advice can you give to parents who say… no, I can’t send my kids away for the whole summer.  I’ll miss them too much?

Can’t wait to hear.  Please share!

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305-931-5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Are they gone yet?

by Karen Meister

The planning and packing are complete.  School has ended and now the waiting begins…. for many.  So many camps and teen programs start right after Father’s Day.

So, what do you do from now until then?  If you planned well, the kids are either doing pre-summer programs like day camps or “mommy” camp or your teens are sleeping in and happy to do a little down time.  You may have even planned a family trip for pre-camp weeks.  I am loving the pictures I see on Facebook of all the activities — from the Islands to Europe to up in Canada to stay-cations — we do live in Paradise!

Now, if you did not plan well for this time, you have extra humans in the house ALL THE TIME!!  If you are both working parents, you may have a caregiver in the house for the full day and I’m sure you are coming home to slight chaos.  If you are at home with the kids, then you are either having a great time meeting other friends and their kids for some low key activities OR you are spending plenty of money on activities to keep the kids busy.

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK!! When are they leaving for camp????

The kids want to leave and you are happy too.  And that is what it is supposed to be like.  You are not getting rid of your kids.  You are exposing them to learning ne wthings, meeting new people and growing independently.

Now, what about you?  What will you be doing this summer with the extra time you have while the kids are away?  Yes, yes, the closet cleaning is always top of the list.  But what else?  What is your passion?  What are your dreams?  Are you traveling?  Will you spend time reacquainting with your spouse?

Share your plans and your ideas.  You never know who you will inspire or who will inspire you!!

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Saving Camp Memories in Print

 

by Karen Meister

The often repeated term – “Refresh Refresh” – represents a typical mom who has sent her children to sleepaway camp but just can’t stand the thought of missing that photo of the day!  Every photo speaks volumes as to your daughter’s state of mind, position in the cabin and happiness for the day.  That daily picture tells you whether your son is playing hard, kicking daisies in the outfield, bonding or being left out.

Most likely, your interpretation of that moment is quite different than reality.  So why not make a project with your kids?  Get to know what was really going on when that picture was taken?  Long weekend coming up and it is a great time, while still doing laundry from the duffel bags, to put your memory books together with your kids.

So….  Plan ahead.  The summer is coming.  Know that you will start your project now that school is out!!

All those photos that I know you saw and saved….

1. Put them into a folder labeled Summer  2015.

2.  Make subfolders, if you have multiple children, and want to make separate projects for each folder.

3.  Attempt to put them in order by labeling each picture and put the first one as 001-”whatever name you gave it”.

4.  Open a word document and create a list of the photos number and name.

5.  Sit with the kids and start taking notes, by photo number, of what your kids tell you about what is going on.

6.  Write a forward and date for your book which will serve as your first page to the book.

You can then go to any of the many photo book on line publishing companies from Shutterfly, Snapfish, iPhoto….

And start your Camp Library.

How cool!!!!  Don’t wait.  Do it this weekend.  And please share with me.

I love camp stories….

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Returning Home

by Karen Meister

“Re-entry for grown-ups vs. kids”….

A trip of a lifetime…. saved my pennies, took time (when for business reasons, didn’t have it to take), saw the greatest players in tennis in the most fantastic tennis facility in Melbourne, Australia, beautiful sites, great food, terrific friends, the stressors of home and work life disappeared for a glorious two weeks, and my electronic communication was limited to the hotel room where I had wi-fi…..

And now I’m back.  Exhausted, jet lagged, need to take care of business, back to the routine of daily life, and I have a bit of a cold.

Why do I share these details?  Certainly not to complain… not my nature.  But…

WHAT IS RE-ENTRY LIKE FOR YOUR KIDS AT THE END OF THE SUMMER  And how close to the start of school should you allow them to stay away?

Summer camp, summer trips, summer experiences take your kids on a new adventure.  And they leave the cares, woes, stressors and most importantly, electronics behind.  The longer they get to be away from home and imbedded in their different world, the greater is the long term  impact on their new behaviors and ability to maintain calm and order.

Yes, most certainly re-entry can be challenging.  And the older the child, the longer it does take to adjust to returning home.  Why?

The younger child comes home, has lot to share, needs a really good bath from head to toe and back, and clean sheets for sleeping.  And that’s it!  They may need to brush up on a little reading to get the cobwebs out of their academic portion of their brains.  Done.

A teen also has plenty to share, definitely needs a good shower, some space to chill, sensitivity to their newfound independence, and lots of sleep.  Cobweb maintenance and they are good to go.

Us grownups need to do loads of laundry, put the suitcases away, go through the mail and pay the overdue bills, clean out the refrigerator because you left that one hidden lemon in the back, and get dressed and go to work ASAP.

Moral of the story:  do not assume your child has the same difficulty with re-entry as you believe you would.  If your child gets home 2-3 days before the start of school, don’t worry.  Think about what THEY truly must do to properly re-enter, and not you.

As for this traveler, “there is no place like home”….

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

You, My Child, Are In Charge Of Your Body

by Karen Meister

You’ve met the Camp Director, selected the best possible camp, it has the right staff, the right training, the right accreditation, and comes recommended highly by everyone.  And then, something goes terribly wrong at camp.  There was one thing you forgot to check off your to-do list and that is to EMPOWER YOUR CHILD!

So before you send your precious gold off to sleep away camp, there are a few things you need to discuss.  Granted, age appropriate discussions will be to your discretion, but below are the 7 critical topics to discuss.

1. You’re the Boss of Your Body! No one is allowed to touch you in any way that makes you feel yucky, weird, or uncomfortable. And no one should try to play any kind of “touching games” with Private Parts… not an adult, a counselor or another camp kid.

2. It’s OK to say “Stop Touching Me” or “HANDS OFF MY BODY” to anyone at camp… including another camper, a bigger kid or even a grownup or counselor. You actually have to teach kids HOW to say this ahead of time and tell them they have permission to tell anyone to “stop touching.” Practice this before they go off to camp.

3. Stay with your group all the time, especially on field trips and outings. Even if you’re bored or restless, it’s not okay to wander off alone.

4. Tell your counselor right away if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or you’re having any kind of problem. DON’T WAIT. Be honest with your counselor and let them know if you need them to help you with anything. No one should make you feel guilty, or “yucky”.


5. Tell another safe grownup at camp if your counselor doesn’t help you or is part of what is making you feel uncomfortable.  (Parents: be sure your child knows several different counselors or adults at camp ahead of time.)

6. Set up a code word or phrase in case your camper wants to call you for help or to come and get them in an emergency. Often, a kid may not want everyone to hear that they are calling home or even WHY they are calling their parents. A code word between the parents and child is a great way to set up a “safety system” and it really helps your child feel like “my parents have my back!”

7. Tell your child clearly: YOU are my #1 priority… and I will always stand by you and believe you if you are scared or sad about any experience. You can tell me anything & I’ll support you.

PARENTS: WE HAVE TO LET OUR KIDS KNOW AHEAD OF TIME THAT WE HAVE THEIR BACKS, NO MATTER WHAT.

Remember: practice makes perfect. Go over a few safety rules and scenarios before they leave for camp. Keep the dialog light but clear. If it’s their first time at sleepaway camp, let your child know it’s normal to feel a little homesick at first. That just means you love your family! In a few days, it will pass as you get involved with all the fun, new activities.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Scared to send your kids to camp?

by Karen Meister

I just watched Meatballs — yes, the goofy camp movie with Bill Murray.  A classic for sure.  But the message was right on.  Rudy, the little guy who arrives at camp and clearly does not fit in spends the first day or so as an outcast and runs away from camp.  Bill Murray tracks him down at the local diner, and over a milk shake and french fries, convinces him to come back to camp.  Over the course of the summer, due to “no parental intervention”, Rudy begins to develop  competence, confidence and independence.

Amazing!

Through a friendship with Bill, he begins to practice running.  He develops an ability and strength the other kids don’t have.  He feels better about himself because although he can’t kick a soccer ball, he can run.  He is selected to save the camp’s last chance in the Apache Relay against arch-rival Camp Mohawk.  And the movie ends with Rudy on the shoulders of the whole camp.

He has gone from outcast to hero and in this simple (and often times silly story), you witness the beauty and magic of camp!

But it takes time for the process to unfold.  Many would think that if your child is shy or timid or you are nervous about or for them, a short experience at camp would be best.  It is actually the reverse.  If these characteristics describe your child, you need to give them the time to work through the fear, build the competence and confidence, and leave camp with a success.

Success is defined by accomplishing ANYTHING….  the perfect piece of pottery (in their eyes), the new skill of the balance beam, a hook shot, or getting up on waterskis.  It doesn’t happen over night, but it will happen, given the chance.

Don’t fear their time away.  Embrace it, find thngs to do on your own, and smother your child with hugs and kisses when they proudly return from sleepaway camp.

Important Caveat:  It is absolutely crucial to find the right camp.  Meatballs is a movie.  If your child is a bit shy, fearful, older or whatever it may be, it is critical to speak with a camp expert that knows the culture, personnel, size, etc. at different camps.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Camp – With/Without A Friend

by Karen Meister

Whether for religious reasons or just purposeful soul searching, we all look forward to the “do-over”.  Apologize, forgive, forget and do better.  And the same goes for our children and hence, the annual escape for a child to their summer home.  Towards the end of June, a child embarks on a new beginning for seven weeks.    The transgressions and mishaps of the previous summer are wiped clean, the positive memories and warm feelings are retained, and the fabulous summer home awaits.

A new year!  A new summer!

So…  off to camp with a friend or without a friend?  I always vote for “go it alone” if at all possible.

When your child goes off to camp without a hometown friend, they may be uncomfortable for the first 20 minutes.  The unknown of their new summer home can be overwhelming.  And yet, with proper selection and preparation, those 20 minutes will be exciting rather than scary.  Your child will be free to:

  • select the type of camp that is just perfect without having to consider others’ needs
  • explore new activities and learn and fail successfully
  • enter the social laboratory of making friends without having someone looking over your shoulder
  • be responsible for themselves alone without the baggage of a friend from home
  • make new friends because they must
  • come home with stories of success and let the failures be part of learning without constant reminder or embarrassment
  • expand their worlds to friends outside of their hometown, and
  • look forward to returning to their special summer home the following summer.

Think about your child’s summer as an opportunity every year to start afresh.  In the words of Queen Elsa, your child can “Let It Go”  as well as start over every summer.

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

by Karen Meister

Now is the best time to plan your summer.

IT SOUNDS CRAZY!!  But you can find deals and take your time to make sure everyone gets what they want/need.

So here is the step by step plan to make a perfect summer.

1.   Plot out your summer on a weekly basis.

Here is a handy link to print out a monthly calendar for your needs.  Enter critical dates like the end of school, start of school and any special occasions during the summer.

2.   Identify Summer Goals for you and the household.

A few items you may want to consider are:

  • a family vacation
  • summer camp
  • a grown up vacation without the kids
  • redoing a bathroom while the kids may be out of town
  • organizing your office area in your home
  • putting together the photos that you have meant to tackle for the longest time
  • learning how to……

There are so many items that could be on your bucket list, it is time to identify those wishes and dreams and see what really can be done during the summer.

3.  Start Planning the Details.

If summer camp is in the cards for the kids, now is the time to write to a camp advisor  to find the right program and take advantage of early bird rates and the arrival of Camp Directors for home visits.

If a vacation for the family, or solo, is on your list, now is an excellent time to start reviewing websites such as Airfare Watchdog so you can be alerted when rates go down for the trip you really want to take.

If remodeling is your selection, know that permits, plans and ordering supplies takes months.  If you plan ahead, you actually may be able to install while the kids are out of the house.

4. Just Do It.

So often, our plans are terrific but we fear the final decision making.  Just do it!!!  Don’t delay.  Make your choice, cross it off your to do list and move on to enjoy the rest of the year.

5.  Fill in the blanks.

Once you have planned the big picture, it will be very easy to fill in the blanks.  For example, if you are working and need child care assistance for certain days, you can make arrangements with work, friends or family to help out on those days.  You can purchase tickets to special local events well in advance, or keep an eye out for special deals, during the blank days you have already identified.

Take the time, make the plans, use the many resources available to help you and know that the summer of 2015 will be a blast!!

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

5 “Back from Camp” Lessons

by Karen Meister

I know you are behind that pile of laundry.  I know the kids just got back from camp and you have only a few days to get them into school mode.  But….

What a summer!!

Can you faintly remember the days of not making lunches?  Of not rushing everyone out of the house with backpacks packed, homework complete, and uniforms on?  Rushing out the door with your necessaries…. whether it be brief case, grocery list or workout clothes?

Well, take a deep breath and remember the benefits of summer as you begin to shift into school time mode.  You sent your kids for at least the following 5 reasons.  Keep it going all year long….

1.  Independence:  You send your kids to camp so they can learn to be independent.  Test what they have learned…  Let them pack their own backpacks, make their own beds and deal with the consequences if they don’t follow through.  You can even make a game out of it to see how long the “feeling” lasts.

2.  Developing New Relationships:  When they first arrive at camp, they must learn to engage, get along with and team build with a new set of friends, counselors and bunkmates.  Those same skills are vital for their new classroom on the first day of school.  You may want to take the time before school starts to revisit lessons learned in camp and talk about how it will transfer to the first day of class.

3.  Identity Development:  At camp, your child gets to reinvent and/or experiment with the type of person they want to be.  They can leave behind the traits that were not successful and bring home and continue to develop the traits that were successful.  What were these developments?  Did your child learn how to speak up when something wasn’t right?  Did they learn how to be more of a team player and support the weaker member of the group?  What positive attributes can they bring home?

4.  Skill Development:  Whether this was the summer of the basketball lay up, the perfect serve or hip hop stardom, new skills were developed at camp.  And I’m not talking about the skill of being a better friend.  Your child should have learned something new at camp that builds their “competency” in some area.  There are so many after school programs and/or in school clubs that will allow your child to take it a step further.  Keep the growth going.

5.  Cultural Identity:  When your child goes away to camp, there is some kind of common bond.  Whether it be religious or activity based, family or tight friendships, there is a strong camp culture that develops.  Every camp has their credo ie as with one camp I visited this summer:  ”Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, Reasonable Risk and Reaching Out”.  This is the environment in which your children spent their summer.  Bring it home and develop your own.

Please share lessons learned and how you will be transferring camp lessons to school time activities.  You can write to info@lifemeisters.com  and we will start the dialogue.

And if you have not yet made the leap to sending your kids to sleepaway camp, think about it now.  I know it feels early but now is the time to research full summer camping before you get closed out.  It’s crazy yes!!!  But that is reality.

Good luck with the start of the new school year….

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

 

Homesickness 101

by Karen Meister

Monday night was the “last supper” before I began my summer travels.  I will be gone for a couple of months.  I spend a lot of time with my family and especially with my mom….  My mom looked at me with these very sad eyes and said:

“I’m going to miss you sooooo much!”

Oh my…. my heart was breaking, I was torn.  Well into my 50′s, and having been to camp for many many years, I felt that strange feeling of butterflies, sadness, happiness and nervousness as I embarked on my summer adventures.  I was a bit sad to leave my apartment, my routine, my tennis courts and especially my mommy and daddy.  OMG!!

Why do I share this?  DO NOT SAY “I’m going to miss you soooo much” TO YOUR CHILD BEFORE THEY LEAVE FOR CAMP!!!!!

As I just said, I am a middle aged, independent, adult and these words just crushed me.  Imagine what these words can do to your elementary school aged child????

Instead, let me make a few suggestions on how to handle the night before departure:

1.  Allow your child their feelings:  If your child says they are nervous, sad, scared, homesick or whatever, allow them to have these feelings.  Reassure them that these feelings are normal.  As my dad used to say…  ”It’s okay to have butterflies.  Just get them to fly in formation.”

2.  Provide a little taste of home:  If your child has a favorite pillow, stuffed animal, blanket or whatever, make sure your child brings it to camp.  It is comforting and all the kids bring these items to help feel a little close to home.

3.  Let your child know that you will be fine:   There are so many things to say or not to say.  Bottom line… be vague about what you will be doing.  ”I will keep busy.”  ”I will be working.”  ”I may take some time to read.”  ”Although I love having you at home, I am so much more excited that you get to go to camp.”  ”I know you will love it.”

4.  Establish communication plans:  Do not give your child an option to call you if they are feeling homesick.  Encourage them to write in their journal, to send you a letter (provide pre-addressed stamped envelopes), to talk to their counselors, and to begin counting on their new friends and “camp family”.  Let your child know that their feelings will go away and to feel comfortable to ask for help.

5.  THERE IS NO PICK-UP PLAN!!!    Don’t offer it, don’t speak it, don’t write it, don’t even hint at it.  You will cripple your child if you set them up with this option.

6.  Don’t pass your feelings of homesickness on to your child:  Whether you are remembering your own feelings or feel as if you won’t be able to be without your baby, let them go!!!  With a smile and a hug, send them on their way and have a great summer.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Live 10 months for 2

by Karen Meister

If you are sending your child to sleepaway camp this summer, and you went to camp as well, I can feel the vibration of excitement coming from each and every household (some early birds have already left).  I remember the trucks picking up the duffel bags and all of a sudden, it was real.  The 10 month waiting period was almost over and the glorious 2 months of summer camp were about to begin.

Back in the day, even back in the day when my kids went to camp, chatting with your camp friends during the school year only existed through expensive long distance phone calls or letter writing.  Instant messaging, cell phone conversations, Facebook, Twitter and every element of instantaneous communication didn’t exist.  You basically waited till that first day of camp to get off the bus with your travel belongings, dropped everything along the way as you ran to hug your BFF’s at your summer home.

Now, the kids keep in constant touch which actually has made their desire and longing for the wonderful 2 months of summer bliss even more acute.  No parents, no school work, and no electronics!  Believe it or not, once the kids have gone through their withdrawals (as you would too), they enjoy the disconnected feeling of being unplugged.

And if this is the first summer away?  The build up has been huge.  Buying camp clothes, packing duffel bags, doctors appointments, flight arrangements, and the excitement and anxious feelings of the unknown.  It is all soooo good!!!

Summer camp is the best gift you have ever given to your child and please make sure that whether your children are going for 2 weeks or 2 months, you take the time to get in touch with your own life, needs, wants and desires.  The kids will be great!  You are ready to let them go….

It’s about T-minus 1 week for so many of you.  Ready, set, go!  Share your feelings, your nerves, your excitement and your stories!

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

First Day of Camp

by Karen Meister

Have you had the talk with your kids?  How did it go?  If you are a second summer parent, what tips can you share with first time parents??

Are you ready?  Are the kids ready?  Trunks packed?  Nerves running high?

All normal.  As my Dad used to say, “It’s good to have butterflies!  You just want to get them to fly in formation!”

Remember, you are sending the kids to camp to help them develop independence, get fresh air, unplug and simply to stay busy during the summer.  But if this is their first time away from home, everyone is experiencing a sense of nerves….

So, here are some hints to give the kids for their first day of camp as well as things you need to do as the parent…..

1.  Pack your traveling pack the night before.

2.  Wake up early enough before traveling to have family breakfast.

3.  Let them say goodbye to their room and make sure everything is just the way they want it.

4.  And then, off to the airport (or bus)…..

5.  Upon arrival, let the kids check in with the chaperone or counselor in charge.  Make sure everyone is introduced and give your child a little space to talk with some other children, while still being available for them.

6.  If your child is going by airplane, stay in the airport with the other tearful moms and dads till the plane takes off.  There have been times when mechanical troubles on the runway causes the plane to turn around and potentially de-plane.  (You will hate yourself if you are not in the airport!)

7.  If your child is going by bus, wave goodbye and head off.

The kids are now out of your hands and in the protection and care of the travel counselor.  So this is what you can tell your kids to prepare them …..

1.  If you have any questions, ask the counselors.

2.  There will probably be lots of singing and activity on the bus.  Watch, listen, learn and if you want, participate.

3.  When you finally get to camp, you will be greeted by counselors and the camp director, most likely holding clip boards.  They will tell you where to go and you will probably be connected with someone that will take you to your cabin.

4.  You will find your bed, meet your new friends and start  to get to know your new summer family and summer home.

5.  You will probably go to the camp dining hall for a meal, introductions and jump right into the start of your summer.  If you see food that you don’t like, don’t be shy to ask for some alternatives.  And, if you have allergies, always speak up!

6.  Eventually, after a very long time it will be lights out.  You may feel very tired, a little lonely, a little sad, or a little nervous your first night.  It is okay.  We will be thinking of you as well.  But now you have your new summer family that you will learn to love, enjoy and count on while you are at camp.  And believe it or not, when you come home, you are going to miss your camp friends so much.

7.  A new day, a new beginning, and let the fun, games and new experiences begin.

8.  Don’t forget to write us letters because we want to hear everything about your wonderful summer.

We love you….

 

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

5 Things Not To Say Before Sending Your Child To Camp

by Karen Meister

Most camps are starting in about 59 days.  The kids are starting to get excited/nervous while they watch their parents scramble around with the list of items needed for camp.  The duffle bags have been purchased; the permanent markers are ready to get used to label EVERYTHING IN SIGHT!  One room is devoted to stockpiling — 7 pairs of shorts, 14 t-shirts, collapsible cup, undies, socks, and on and on……

The reality of a summer away, especially for first time camper, is most certainly a bit rattling to the whole family.  So how to handle everyone’s jitters, while still trying to control your own?  First and foremost, know that you have made a fabulous choice in deciding to send your child to camp.  But you really need to control yourself.  So here are the top 5 things to NOT say to your child before they leave:

5.  I’ll finally have some peace and quiet around here.  Although it may be what you are thinking on the inside, do not let those words come out of your mouth in front of the children.  It is most certainly good for children and parents to get a break from each other, but little ears will interpret that statement as “they want to get rid of me because…. I’m a problem, I’m in the way, I’m no good….”.

4.  Now I’ll be able to spend more time with your “sibling”.  One on one time with your children is great.  BUT NEVER UTTER THOSE WORDS IN FRONT OF THE KIDS!  The child going away will panic that they are going to miss out on something and homesickness will most certainly present itself.  The younger one will either begin to brag or be set up for future failure in going away.

3.  I am going to miss you so much I don’t know what I’ll do.  Get over it and get a life.  You are giving the greatest gift to your child — independence.  Now be productive with the time you get as an adult.  The best way to teach your children how to be independent and productive in the world is to model this behavior.  Preferred statement…  ”I am going to miss, but am so excited for what you will get to do at camp.  I will keep busy and will be thrilled to see you at visiting day (or the end of camp) to hear about everything you experienced.”

2.  If you don’t like it there, I’ll come and pick you up.  NO!!!!!  You didn’t just say that!!!  You did your homework, selected a camp, bought into the idea of independent development and now you are handicapping your children??  NO!!!  Know that homesickness does occur and overcoming it is the greatest achievement for a first time camper.  Let it happen.  Do not give your child an out.  Teach them how to speak for themselves.  Teach them good touch/bad touch, etc.  But if you did your homework, then be part of the team and Let Them Go!!

1.  I can’t wait to go to the beach, go to Europe, go on the boat, see your cousins/grandparents, go out to dinner without you……  It’s one thing to let your child know that you will stay busy while they are away, but it is quite another to list the many wonderful things you’ll be doing.  They may have very mixed emotions about going away, and if you list all the things they will miss by not being around, you are setting your child up for failure.

So… keep the focus on your departing child, the excitement of meeting new friends in a beautiful place, and how successful they will be at their new summer home.  Keep everything else to yourself.  And if in fact, they ask what you will do while they’re gone?  Your one and only answer:

CLEANING  CLOSETS!!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.