Preparing to Write a Letter While Your Child Is Away at Camp
Summer camp is a new experience for parents as well as kids. If you are like many parents, this is the first time you’ve been away from your child for an extended period of time. When it comes time to say goodbye to your child, you may find yourself feeling a little emotional.
One way to help with the transition is to have camp letters and cards ready to send, so that you can be prepared to stay in touch with your child as soon as you drop them at sleepaway camp. Receiving a letter from home can help to ease homesickness for kids, and also give them a way to share their camp experience with you.
However, getting a letter from mom and dad can also make a child feel more homesick if it touches on certain subjects. Read below for a guide on how to write the perfect letter to your child.
Do’s, Don’ts, and Creative Ideas
- l your child you’re proud of them for trying new things and for being independent. Especially for first-time campers, it can be really reassuring to hear this from mom and dad.
- Encourage them to set goals during their time at camp such as having fun, learning a new skill, and making friends.
- You can also ask them simple questions that they will be able to respond to in a letter or share with you when you pick them up, such as, what is your favorite camp meal or what new activities have you tried.
- Avoid saying things that will make them feel like they’re missing out on special events happening at home.
- Don’t talk about how you went to their favorite restaurant, or that you’ve been doing fun activities without them.
- Give simple updates that are positive and encouraging, and try not to give the illusion that home is just not the same without them.
Also, avoid laying on the guilt. The worst thing you can do is make them feel guilty for having a great time at camp while you are at home missing them. In general, avoid telling them you miss them. Instead, tell them you love them and that you are happy they are having so much fun at camp.
For more information on why you should avoid the inclusion of “I miss you,” check out this blog post on homesickness.
Camp Letter Ideas From Parents
Don’t be afraid to get silly with your letters, and definitely make them as fun as possible. Your child is having a blast at camp, so there’s no reason your letter needs to be serious or even in a traditional letter format.
Get creative by writing a letter on the topic of “Top 10 Foods We’ve Been Eating While You’re Gone,” and then include really gross foods that will simultaneously make your child laugh and feel thankful that they are not home to eat those gross meals.
Another successful letter idea might be, “Top 10 Parent Activities While You’ve Been at Camp,” followed by activities like cleaning closets, fumigating the house, and organizing the garage. Stick with letter topics that will make your child feel glad that they are away at camp, like “Top 10 Reasons to Go to Camp,” filled with items like no dishes and no cleaning.
Use silly fonts, lots of colors, and fun paper to make your letters bright and exciting. Include a riddle, puzzle, or joke for your child to share with new camp friends. If care packages are accepted at the camp, you may be able to include their favorite snack or baked goods. Some camps, including Pali, don’t allow outside food in care packages, so a deck of cards or a coloring book are other good options.
Have Fun With the Letter
Letters from home should only serve to enhance your child’s camp experience. Any letter topic or idea that will make your child miss home should be avoided. Look for fun cards with music or jokes or tuck a picture in the letter of you doing chores.
Writing camp letters can provide peace of mind for both you and your child, and provides a jovial way to keep in touch without being an overbearing parent.
For more resources about sending your child to camp, check out the Pali blog.