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What do you do when one of your kids is at sleep away camp! PARTY!!!! No, seriously. It can be difficult to say good bye and not see them for the week. I always struggle with the balance of trying to spend time with them before they leave, and letting them know they will be missed, without making feel sad that they are leaving. The reality of it is, though, is that as soon as they are at camp, they can’t wait for you to go!
Most camps send a list of things that you should send, but just in case, here are a few things that you definitely don’t want to forget about:
- Bug Spray – our son had 96 bug bites last year – yes, we counted!
- Make sure they know how to apply the sunscreen and bug spray properly
- Send a note pad and pen, in case they want to write down important things that happen
- A fitted sheet to cover the mattress on the bunk (I always forget this one until I get there!)
- A book – some kids need down time away from it all
- Towels – I always send 2, one for the shower and one for swimming
Care Packages at Camp
The first year that our son when to camp for a week, I knew that I needed to mail him. I even contacted the grandparents and aunts and uncles so they could send letters too. The camp that my son goes to actually allows you to send an email that gets delivered during mail time, which is awesome! I didn’t know, however, that you are supposed to send a care package too! My son was so disappointed when all the other kids got a package of goodies, and all he got were letters. This year, I planned ahead and sent his package before he even left. A box filled with candy, crackers and cookies to share with his cabin mates! He’s also getting an unplanned 2nd care package because he forgot to pack socks! I realized it after we left him at camp. So I jumped on Amazon Prime and had a six-pack sent to him overnight!
The Ones Left Behind
When you have more than one child, it can be difficult to spend time with them independently without the other child(ren) feeling left out. When one is away at camp for the week, it’s a perfect time to give the other child(ren) special attention. It’s a perfect time to do something that they like to do, that they might not always get to go with the whole family around. Examples might be:
- A movie for the older child, that the younger ones can’t see
- Going to dinner at a restaurant that they choose
- Making their favorite dinner at home
- Doing an activity that they like; roller skating, bowling, batting cages, water parks
- Going for ice cream in the middle of the day for no ‘real’ reason
It’s important to spend 1:1 time with your children, especially as they get older. It is during this time that they are most likely to share what is going on with them. By doing things with them that they like, without siblings around, is a great way to accomplish this without them knowing!
What if you don’t have any kids left behind? Maybe you only have one child, or you were lucky to get all your kids into sleep away camp at the same time. This is YOUR TIME! Spend it with your husband; go out on dates. If you are not married or dating, take time to hang out with your friends and do things that YOU like to do to. When kids are home, moms usually don’t get to do that!
When Camp is Over
Picking your child up from camp is exciting. You haven’t seen them in a week and they are excited to share all of their experiences with you. Last year, when we picked our son up from camp, he talked all the way home. This is very unusual for him, and how we knew that he had a great time! I would like to give you this WARNING however; they will stink! Chances are, they didn’t shower, or brush their teeth, or change their clothes every day (at least the boys). Last year, we had to ride home with the windows down!
My son is still at camp this year. He’s only been gone a few days and I miss him like crazy! I’m looking forward to spending time with my older son while he is gone and can wait to hear all his stories when we pick him up!