5 Ways To Deal With Negative Experiences From Summer Camp For Kids

Children who attend summer camps naturally hope to have a good time there but not every experience is the same. Homesickness, fights with friends, the feeling of being excluded and so on can leave children distressed. As a result, if you intend to sign up your children for summer camps, make sure that you know how to help them deal with negative experiences from the camps. Don’t worry if you don’t know much since our article can teach you what must be done.

What Must Be Done

  • Encourage Communication: To get the kids through negative experiences, you should prioritize open communication. Encourage your child to share their feelings, thoughts, and concerns about their camp experience. Create a safe space where your child feels comfortable expressing themselves. Listen to your child’s words, validate their emotions, and reassure them that it’s normal to feel a range of emotions. Via open communication, you can gain insight into your child’s experience at camp and provide the guidance they need to navigate challenges.
  • Be Sensitive: Instead of dismissing/minimizing your child’s feelings. empathize with their experience. Let your child know that it’s okay to feel sad and reassure them that their feeling deserves attention. By doing so, you help them feel heard, understood, and accepted,
  • Provide Practical Coping Strategies: Equip your child with practical coping strategies to help them take on negative experiences at camp and manage their emotions. Teach them relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness and visualization to help reduce feelings of anxiety. Tell them to engage in activities they enjoy like drawing, writing, listening to music, … as a way to distract themselves. Help them identify supportive camp staff they can turn to for assistance, guidance and companionship.
  • Cultivate Resilience And Problem-Solving Skills: Summer camp presents an opportunity for children to develop resilience and problem-solving skills as they overcome challenges. Get your child to approach setbacks and negative experiences as opportunities for growth. Help them reframe negative experiences as temporary obstacles that they can overcome if they have perseverance, creativity, and determination. By cultivating resilience and problem-solving skills, you empower your child to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to new situations and thrive in the face of adversity.
  • Advocate For Your Child’s Needs: As a parent, you must advocate for your child’s needs, especially when they run into challenging situations at camp. If your child is struggling, talk to camp staff and counselors to develop a plan of action. Share relevant information about your child then collaborate with camp staff to implement strategies and interventions to address concerns. Stay involved in your child’s camp experience, stay updated on their progress, and maintain open lines of communication with camp staff.

A List Of Suggestions

Screen The Camp

Before enrolling your child in a summer camp, it’s essential to research the camp’s safety policies and procedures. Take the time to review the camp’s website and inquire about their approach to staff screening and child protection. Consider asking camp staff the following questions:

  • Do you require background checks, including the sex offender registry, for all staff members? What is the camp’s policy regarding background checks, and is this information made available to parents?
  • How does the camp handle accusations of sexual abuse or assault within the camp by staff or other campers? Is this information shared with parents, and if so, when, how, and by whom?
  • Does the camp allow children to directly contact their parents if necessary? What procedures are in place for communication between campers and their families in case of emergencies?

By gathering this information, you can make informed decisions about the camp’s suitability for your child and ensure that adequate safety measures are in place.

Prepare Your Child

Open and ongoing communication with your child about their safety is crucial. Start conversations early and reinforce key principles regularly. Discuss topics such as setting boundaries, recognizing unsafe situations, and speaking up when something doesn’t feel right. Emphasize the importance of trusting their instincts and communicating any concerns with you, no matter how small they may seem.

Provide your child with specific examples of boundaries and potential scenarios they may encounter, such as inappropriate touching or horseplay during sports activities. Let them know that their body belongs to them, and they have the right to assert their boundaries in any situation. By empowering your child with knowledge and confidence, you equip them to navigate challenging situations effectively.

Address Disclosure of Abuse

Despite proactive measures, it’s essential to be prepared in case your child discloses abuse. If your child confides in you about experiencing abuse, it’s crucial to respond with compassion, support, and sensitivity. Here are steps you can take if your child tells you they were abused:

  • Remain calm and prioritize your child’s needs and emotions over your own reactions.
  • If you are unable to stay calm, acknowledge your emotional response and reassure your child that they are not at fault.
  • Look for signs that the child may be reliving the trauma and provide support by encouraging deep breathing and grounding techniques.
  • Reassure your child that they will not get in trouble for speaking up and follow through on this promise by providing a safe and supportive environment for disclosure.


How can I determine if my child’s situation warrants intervention from camp staff?

Pay attention to significant changes in your child’s behavior, mood and well-being. If your child’s negative experience at summer camp produces significant impacts on their emotional and psychological well-being, it may warrant intervention.

Is there a way to help my child rebuild their confidence if they had a negative experience at summer camp?

If your child had a negative experience at summer camp that impacted their confidence, encourage them to focus on their strengths and successes. Help them identify positive aspects of their camp experience such as new friendships, skills learned, challenges conquered, … Encourage them to set achievable goals and celebrate their progress along the way. Provide ongoing support, encouragement, and praise to boost their self-esteem.

What should I do if my child expresses reluctance to attend summer camp again after a negative experience?

In the case that your child expresses reluctance to attend summer camp again after a negative experience, listen to their concerns. Acknowledge their apprehension and reassure them that their well-being is the top priority. Explore alternative options (finding a different camp, participating in other activities, etc) that match your child’s interests. Remember to give your child time and space to process their feelings.

What resources are available to help children cope with negative experiences at summer camp?

Many summer camps offer resources and support services to help children having negative experiences. Examples include trained counselors, peer support groups and wellness activities. Additionally, there are online resources, books, and support networks available for parents and children dealing with homesickness, social difficulties and other challenges at summer camp. In times of need, reach out to professionals for guidance and assistance in accessing appropriate resources to support your child.

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