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 Meister, in 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.