School camp is an amazing opportunity for children to develop new skills, friendships and interests. But for many children the idea of sleeping away from home can be daunting, especially if it’s their first camp.
Anxiety is completely understandable and should be expected. So it’s important to help children feel more positive about camp and overcome their fears. We share 6 helpful tips so anxiety doesn’t spoil everyone’s fun.
#1 Make Students as Familiar as Possible
Particularly if this is a first ever camp, it’s important to ensure that students feel a sense of familiarity with the place. Visit the camp website in class and have a look at the pictures and videos together. If your school is local to the camp then book a time to bring the students out to see the place for themselves. We always welcome advance parties, so if you live near the Coffs Coast then contact our Camp Concierge to make arrangements.
It’s also a good idea to explain the schedule of events to students in advance. This helps students know what to expect and also makes it clear that camp will have a beginning, a middle and an end. They will be coming home at the end.
#2 Talk about Camp Concerns
It’s always a good idea to talk about feelings before a school camp. What are students excited about? What are students worried about? It helps students to see that others have similar worries. Try brainstorming ideas for overcoming worries as a group.
#3 Prepare Parents Too
Let parents know as much as possible about the camp facilities and the activities planned. Encourage parents to talk about camp at home. This helps continue your efforts to familiarise students.
Let parents know the skills that are expected of students. For example, children are expected to be able to brush their teeth by themselves. This allows parents time to work with children and ensure they are ready.
Finally, provide parents with some practical tips on preparing for school camps. For example, you might suggest that children practice sleepovers before the camp, or that it’s a good idea to pack a favourite toy. Remember, this may be the first time for parents too.
#4 Get Ready Together
Make preparation for camp a classroom activity. Create packing lists together. Brainstorm and agree camp rules. Learn some campfire songs ahead of time.
Reading camping storybooks in class and then discussing afterwards can also be an effective preparation technique. Some good titles are Maisy Goes Camping, Curious George Goes Camping or Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping (the latter being particularly appropriate for children who are a bit nervous).
Another effective exercise is to create a buddy system that will start in the preparation stage and continue through to the school camp. Encourage “buddy” pairs to work together on classroom exercises and to talk to each other about their concerns and plans to overcome them.
#5 Talk to the Camp Concierge
We are trained in handling school camp jitters. If anxiety is proving a problem share your concerns with our Camp Concierge. If you know a child is particularly anxious then let us know in advance. We will work with you to help allay worries and make the child feel comfortable in the camp environment.
#6 Make Sure Children Know Where to Go for Help
Anxiety allowed to simmer can become a nightmare for children and teachers alike. It’s important that children know where to seek help and understand that seeking help is something successful people do.
Your Camp Concierge will work with you to ensure children feel supported when nerves get the better of them.
Feel free to contact our Camp Concierge at any time to discuss strategies for ensuring your School Camp is a huge success for every child.
Call 02 6653 5311