Being a parent is complicated. We send our kids away to summer camp to not only have fun but to work on their self-confidence and independence. A week (or more) away from home with kids their own age does a world of good for their development.
But at the same time, we worry — because that’s what parents do. Homesickness is typically at the top of most parents’ list of concerns while their child is away at camp. After all, we’re not physically at the camp to let them know that everything is going to be okay.
There are, however, some things that parents can do to keep the communication channels open and reassure kids that a familiar voice from home isn’t as far away as it may seem.
Here are three options that you may wish to explore this summer while your child is away at camp:
Write a letter
Sometimes there’s nothing better than receiving an old-school hand-written letter. You can leave it in their luggage after you finish packing them for camp or give it to your child at drop-off. Either way, it’s a touching keepsake that they’ll be able to pull out and read if ever they feel the pangs of homesickness kicking in. Don’t sweat the subject matter too much either — just make sure to keep it light. They’ll be happy to receive a letter from home.
If pen and paper are scarce — and depending on the camp — you could also send them a text message if they bring their mobile device. Muskoka Woods highly discourages the use of phones at camp, but if your family reaches a decision that your child will attend Muskoka Woods with a device, be sure to check out the cell phone policy.
Send a care package
Care packages are a great way to keep in touch and give kids a little boost to their week when away at summer camp. Create your own care package to leave at the summer camp office as a surprise! If you’re stumped about what to include, check out this list of care package ideas from www.campexperts.com.
Muskoka Woods also offers for sale a Mid-Week Care Package for kids registered in WILD, Venture and Junior High. The package includes a stuffed animal, bubbles, playing cards, sweet treat and a drawstring bag!
Sign up for Bunk1
Some camps offer a direct way to stay in touch with both the camp and your kids via mobile apps. Muskoka Woods, for example, has teamed up with Bunk1 for summer 2022. The Bunk1 mobile app for iOS and Android devices is easy to download, simple to use and chock-full of convenient features, including Bunk Notes (one-way digital notes printed and delivered to your child at breakfast each day from Monday to Friday), a photo gallery and notifications! You’ll be in the loop on your child’s experience the entire time they are away at camp. Visit the Muskoka Woods website to learn more about Bunk1 and explore the app’s full features and pricing.
No matter which way you decide to keep in touch with your child this summer while they are away at camp, you can guarantee that it will put a smile on their face and reassure them that they’re on your mind and in your heart.
Jamie Hunter is a freelance content specialist living in Dundas, Ont. with his wife, 10-year-old daughter and six-year-old son. Over the past 15+ years, he has contributed to a variety of national lifestyle and entertainment print publications and worked in corporate communications roles at Harbourfront Centre and the University of Toronto. A self-described amateur entomologist, wannabe ornithologist, and fair-weather angler, on weekends he can be found covered in dirt tending to his gardens.