So, your kid’s back from camp. It’s a day you’ve been waiting for, everything is going back to normal now.
But take a step back, things are going to be a little different!
What it’s important to remember and how to behave when meeting your child from the camp?
1. Be caring
No, that doesn’t mean you have to act like with a one-year-old. Take care of their basic needs (food, sleep) and don’t demand anything in return.
2. Let them get used to being at home
You think that your child has returned in the same condition you left him, but in fact the opposite is true. For two intensive weeks spent in the camp, where each day was packed to the rafters, the children have rebuilt themselves, and now it’s home that feels odd and will take some time getting used to.
3. Don’t devalue the experience
Children can return home unhappy and even stay sad for a little time. That doesn’t mean that they had a bad time at camp. It’s okay to be sad. “To say goodbye is to die a little,” remember? On no account try to distract the child or devalue what it is they’re feeling, no matter how unpredictable or incomprehensible to you they may be. Let them work through it themself. Simply be on hand as needed.
4. Don’t bother asking questions
If your child wants to open up to you – great! Show your interest and listen to them. If they are not ready to give you the details of camp life, that’s also fine: let them work out the meaning of the time spent in the camp by themself.
In some cases, you will notice that the child seems to have separated from you. Congratulations! Don’t try to make them mommy’s or daddy’s little girl or boy once again. After all, one of the tasks of the camp is to teach them independence.
6. Let them experiment
In the camp, children learned to communicate with adults in a new way. Upon arrival, they will want to try out new models of communication on you, as well as on other grown-ups around them. Don’t put them off. Give them a chance to set their own boundaries.
7. Be ready with answers
After returning from the camp, children can ask more questions: think, analyse and begin to question a variety of things and processes. If they ask you these questions, try not to impose too narrow or subjective an opinion on them. Provide a variety of options and offer as much freedom of choice as you can.
Always, unconditionally, and even when it’s difficult.