What If My Kid Doesn’t Want to Go to Summer Camp?

New experiences like summer camp can bring a flurry of powerful emotions for your child. Learn how to help your child process their feelings and fears about attending summer camp without running away from the situation altogether.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

If your child reacts anxiously to new or unpredictable situations, it makes sense they might feel nervous about going to camp. Here are three things you can do to help your child as they consider going to camp this year.

1. Listen.

Ask your child to share their fears. Write them down and talk about them. This will help them feel heard and will help you both keep track as they overcome their fears.

2. Validate.

Help your child know that their fears make sense based on their thoughts and perceptions. You can boost your child’s confidence by helping them make sense of how they are feeling. For example, you can say, “If you think you’re going to be lonely or uncomfortable it will make you feel nervous and afraid. But I wonder if your thoughts are true What if your mind thought about the cool things that could happen since it is already thinking about what could go wrong? Can we explore that together? You might begin feeling some good things with the new thoughts you’re trying out.” 

3. Challenge.

Provide your child with alternative thoughts. If they say, “What if no one likes me?” you can challenge that by saying, “How would it feel if you made a new friend?”

For more information about how to approach new situations like camp, explore our parenting tips for how to support your kids and handle difficult parenting decisions.

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