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3 Tips For Preparing Your Shy Daughter For Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway camp may be a fun rite of passage, but it can also trigger anxiety for many children, especially those who are more shy or introverted. The unfamiliar surroundings, being around so many unknown children and adults, and the long separation from home and family can be quite intimidating. If your daughter is shy, she can still have a fun and meaningful experience at sleepaway camp, but it requires a little preparation beforehand. Here are three tips for getting her (and you) through this with flying colors:   

Give Your Daughter a Sense of Control

Instead of presenting sleepaway camp as something that has been decided for your daughter, empower her by letting her be as involved as possible in the decision. Go through the brochures together and let her have a say in which camp she attends. Let her make decisions about details like the type of sleeping bag you purchase for her. Talk to a camp like Camp Marimeta For Girls about what activities they might have and do fun practice runs of some of them to give your daughter a sense of control and eliminate some fear of the unknown.

Encourage Open Dialogue

While you want to keep conversations about camp upbeat and positive, your daughter should also know that she can discuss her fears with you without being told she’s silly or wrong to feel that way. Acknowledge her anxiety with empathy and love, and then talk through the situation in a positive, open way.

For example, if she is scared of making new friends at camp, acknowledge that making new friends can be scary but point out that she was also scared when she started a new grade but then made great new friends right away. Sometimes just talking through things openly is enough to calm an anxious or shy child, who may otherwise internalize her fears.

Communicate with the Camp

Feel free to let the camp know (in the paperwork they send you or in a phone call) that your daughter is shy and may need a little extra adult guidance when it comes to getting used to camp. Camp counselors and other staff are skilled at making things comfortable and fun for shy kids, but they will be able to more easily help her if they’re aware of the situation. 

By following these tips, you will help ensure that your daughter gets past her fears and has a great time at sleepaway camp. In fact, she may even beg you to let her go back next summer!