Category: Re-entry

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.

 

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.

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.