When it comes to raising your kids, you want the best advice out there, which is why we turned to the experts. Will this summer be your little one's first camp experience? His first time away from home and his family? Prepare for separation anxiety at camp by reading the advice we've compiled from some of Manhattan's experienced camp and summer program directors.
"How should parents deal with young children's separation anxiety?"
"Before children even arrive, talk about camp in a positive light, as something fun and exciting and a great place to be. On the first day, have them pack their own lunches, put their backpacks together, and have them be as involved as possible."
-Amanda Herrera, Director and Art Teacher, Little Masters at Portrait Bug in Manhattan
"Our camp staff has found that the best solution is for parents to quickly say goodbye to their children after checking in on the first day. This allows them to make a smoother transition and to have a fantastic camp experience, creating new friendships with fellow campers and having fun."
-Katie Jones, Director, Sports Camps, Columbia University, NYC
"Visit the camp before the first day - stop by and take a tour with the camp director or visit the open house. Talk about camp and role play what might happen at camp, read stories about going to summer camp, and ask your children what they think it will be like. The more children talk about camp, the more excited they will become."
-Janelle Rooks, Senior Manager and Camp Director, apple seeds, Manhattan
"We get a full perspective from the parents about what strategies have worked elsewhere. Send a favorite toy with the child to have for security. Make sure a parent, guardian, or other family member is available to pick up the child if the situation gets too severe."
-Katha Cato, Director, Camp Henry, NYC
"To put our parents at ease, we always have a parent orientation meeting so parents are able to meet everyone on the team and get precise schedules of where their children will be at all hours of the day."
-Sarah Hutton, Communications Director, Camp Broadway in Manhattan
"We keep our camp sessions in small groups that are defined by key age brackets so children are always with peers and they won't be overwhelmed. We quickly get them involved in engaging activities that grab their attention and provide one-on-one time with instructors to ensure kids will not feel lost in the shuffle."
-Jennifer Kauf, Director of Marketing, Launch Math Achievement Centers, NYC
Also see advice on separation anxiety from camp directors in:
Fairfield County, CT
Nassau County, Long Island
Suffolk County, Long Island