Preparing your Introverted Child for Summer CampSo you’ve signed your kid up for summer camp. With camp just days or weeks away, you may be wondering if you made the right decision. It is not uncommon to be worried, especially when your child is an introvert. Instead of recanting your decision to send them, remember why you signed them up in the first place. Maybe they’ve always wanted to learn how to kayak or maybe you thought this would be a great growing experience for them. Hold on to these reasons as you prepare for camp. Below are some tips and tricks to make the first day and entire week fun and trouble-free for you and your introverted child.
Talk about camp before you drop them off on the first day.
The first day of camp can be scary for any child, not only for introverts. It may seem like a simple first step, but asking about any excitement or fears is a great way to get your child ready for the first day of camp. Make sure to ease the fears as much as possible while building up the exciting parts. Be ready to answer any questions they have by pulling up Avid4 Adventure’s website and exploring with them. If any of your child's questions aren't answered on our website, please don't hesitate email or call us at (720) 249-2412!
Create a strategy together based off of their concerns.
In your conversation, you hopefully learned about a few concerns your child had about camp. It is important to create a strategy for if or when those situations arise so they are prepared and ready. Plan for the worst, expect the best. Maybe your kiddo is scared about falling off their bike. Talk with them about a strategy to brush it off. This could be a silly dance to shake off the “owies” or closing their eyes and counting to ten to regain confidence. Let them guide this decision, but help them if they are stuck on an idea. Additionally, it’s crucial that you communicate with your child’s instructor, letting them know what makes your child nervous and excited ahead of time so they can be ready to provide the best experience possible. This can be done in your registration paperwork, on the pre-camp phone call or when you drop your kiddo off on the first day. When the first day jitters are over, check-in with your child and their instructor to see how the day went, developing strategies from the day's feedback. If your child is registered for Overnight Camp, consider a strategy that encourages them to be open with and ask for help from their instructors when they are faced with challenges. Remind them that their instructors are there to help them.
Set relationship goals.
Making new friends can be scary, especially if you tend to be shy, but a big aspect of summer camp is building new friendships. If this is something your introverted kid is not excited about, set a goal with them to push them slightly out of their comfort zone. This goal should be achievable and geared specifically toward them. It could be as little as learning two new names on the first day to making five new friends throughout the week. Remind them of their goal before you drop them off for the day. At the end of the day, check in. If they achieved their goal, work together to set a new one for the next day, building off of the initial goal. If they did not achieve the goal, ask them about the steps they took and strategize to try again the next day. As they create relationships and bonds at camp they will become less reliant on you and more excited to go to camp every day!
Find a way to be alone in a group setting.
Introverts are energized by solitude. At camp, it can be hard to find times to be alone but having energy is crucial. Talk about times during the day when it is appropriate to be alone and what alone can look like in a group setting. Lunch time can be a great time for introverts to energize. Finding a cozy spot to be quiet or write in a notebook or read a book during lunch could be the midday boost your introvert needs. Talk to them about the importance of never straying from the group, but finding those appropriate settings to take time for themselves.
Remind them everyone is different, which is what makes us all so special.
The first day of a new adventure can be intimidating for almost everyone. Remind your child to take every day at camp at their own speed to feel comfortable and confident. Better yet, tell them a story about a time you were nervous or scared to do something new and how you conquered your fear by going at your own pace. There is nothing quite like a story from the person they look up to the most to feel at ease before their first day.
Going through these steps will put your introverted child, and you, at ease for the first day of camp. Don’t stop with this list though, build off of it and be creative. You know your child best and know what will make them shine. It could be anything from wearing their favorite t shirt or packing their favorite lunch. Whatever it is, pairing it with these important conversations and strategies will prepare your child for an experience of a lifetime, no matter how introverted they may be.
To help your child be as prepared as possible to have a fun and confidence building experience at summer camp in Colorado, California or Oregon, check out our Help Center with answers to FAQs on Overnight Camps, Day Camps, discounts and more, click the link below.
About the Author: Molly Small spent three years as a multi-sport instructor at Avid4 Adventure. She spends her free time back country skiing, trail running, mountain biking and stand up paddle boarding with her dog. She can also be found nestled in with a good book or writing blogs for Avid or her travel blog.