My Baby Is Going to camp...help

Updated on August 11, 2008
K.H. asks from Killeen, TX
6 answers

OK, I know I have seen this before but I didn't pay attention. My 8 1/2 year old daughter is going to sleep away camp and will be gone for 6 days and nights, I know I am probably more worried than she is. I have never been longer than overnight away from her.
What can I send with her, that is small but enough to know she just got a hug from mommy.
She has emotional disorders so it may be challenging for her. She had ADD, ODD, and an anxiety disorder.
I think we have prepared her as much as we can, and the camp is only 15 miles away so if needed i can get her or visit...
but what would you hide in her bag to find later?

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So What Happened?

OK so we made it...well I made it through camp. She had a great time and called twice a day for the first three days then she was having to much fun to call home. I ended up putting little love notes in each pocket of her shorts so she would have a new note every day, and I skipped ahead in her journal to write goodnight notes, which she really loved getting. Since her friend that went to camp with her ended up going home after two days I felt very lucky that she is more independent than I thought. But that's what we want for our kids right? She made lots of new friends and will be getting together with them soon. Thanks so much for all the great ideas, I would have gotten a charm bracelet but it came up so fast i didn't have time to go, so I am going to take her with me and start a charm bracelet with her.

More Answers

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S.H.

answers from Houston on

Dear K.--I don't have any suggestions about what to send to your daughter, but I do have words of comfort for YOU. My autistic son was 13 or 14 before I was able to work up the courage to send him to camp. So-congratulations on being able to do this sooner!

I can definitely identify with your fear. I was convinced that the camp was going to "lose" my son and that I'd never see him again. While he was there, I would cry and go into his room to lay on his bed and cry some more. (Sounds really silly to me as I write it now, but I was comfortless at the time.)

What I want to tell you is that you're doing the right thing. Your daughter will probably have a wonderful time and be thrilled at the idea of going next year. We have never failed to let our son go to camp since the first experience. He had so much fun, and that was what we wanted.

He is now 26 and is living at home again after an 8-month stay at a group home. (Now THAT was HARD!!!) After his state funding changed, he had to come home. Our plans now are to work with him until he's more independent, and then try the group home again. It will be hard for us, but necessary for him as we get older and less able to care for him.

Hang in there, K.! You'll have your daughter home after a week, and she'll have all kinds of wonderful stories to tell you of the fun she had.

3 moms found this helpful
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U.

answers from San Antonio on

Have you ever read the book The Kissing Hand?

I'd run and get that before she goes to camp, read it together and give her a kissing hand to take with her. We do that when we're going to be separated and it makes all of us feel wonderful.

A kissing hand is just a kiss planted on the palm of your baby's hand. Every time she presses that palm to her cheek she thinks, "Mommy loves me. Mommy loves me." It's a great story. it had me in tears. We've been using it for years.

2 moms found this helpful

K.N.

answers from Austin on

You could commemmorate this 'big girl event' with a bracelet or necklace... maybe a locket with mom & dad giving her a hug? or a charm? You might be able to find something nice but inexpensive at Sears, JC Pennies, Target, etc.

You could even get a matching 'charm/braclet, etc.' for yourself; she could then know you're wearing yours while she was away. But then, to do a matching thing, you'd have to give it to her beforehand instead of wrapping it and hiding in her bag.

1 mom found this helpful
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K.K.

answers from Killeen on

I remember when I went to my first sleep away camp as a kid, I was incredibly excited. Once there I missed my family tremendously. My mom packed a 2 letters in my bag that I found when I was getting settled for the night. One was from her and one was from my day. They simply told me how proud they were of me and how much they would miss me while I was gone. They told me all of the things they thought were special about me. They said to have lots of fun while I was gone and to tell them all about it when I got home and they would be there to hug me and listen to all of my adventures.

I don't think anything else could have gotten me through the times when I missed them as well. I would read those letters every night as I went to bed and I would think of all the neat things I had done during the day to tell them about, and would go to sleep knowing how much they loved me.

Good Luck and I hope your daughter has a great time at camp!!!

1 mom found this helpful
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D.B.

answers from El Paso on

When I left my daughter with my mom for 3 nights, I tucked little notes into her pjs for her to find each night, since I figured nighttime would be the toughest for her. She still has them on her headboard here at home. :-)

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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J.R.

answers from Houston on

I remember the first time my daughter went to church camp for a whole week. I never left the house because I thought I would miss a phone call from her. I cried most of the first night she was gone. I did hear from her once. She was so excited about telling me all thie things they were doing and could only talk for just a few minutes because they were off to go do something else, but she thought she would just call to say "Hi!" I felt better, but that made me cry too.

I tucked away little things for her in her bag too. NOTHING I sent said we missed her...we did not want her to feel that way also. It was just little things like a beanie baby, some beaded bracelets she could share with her new friends, and a journal if she wanted to write things about the camp visit.
She had a wonderful time and couldn't stop talking about it for weeks. She went back to the camp for the next two summers and mom was soooooo much better too! She also attended Girl Scout camp, which she loved.

The last camp she attended was a Girl Scout camp, but she was older and I got phone calls almost daily about how boring it was and to come get them early (she was with a friend that I think put her up to it).

She will be fine (and you will too). She will love every minute of it and be way too busy to even think about home.

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