We’d like to address a common concern for parents and their children: separation anxiety. Whether it’s the first day of school or camp, it’s normal for kids to feel nervous about being separated from their parents. The dreaded Monday Morning Meltdown is not something you or your child particularly enjoys and we acknowledge that.
In our experience at Laurus Summer Camp, getting through that first goodbye is the hardest part for most children. Tears and tantrums are common for young first-time campers. But, after meeting their counsellors and playing some ice-beakers, those same kids are usually goofing around with new friends by lunchtime.
There’s no guaranteed way to avoid a Monday Morning Meltdown, but here are a few strategies to make that first drop-off easier for you and your kids.
1. Prepare early
If possible, introduce your child to their soon-to-be teachers and counsellors. Laurus will be hosting an on-campus open house in advance of our Laval Summer Camp season. The open house is a perfect opportunity for kids to get comfortable with their counsellors and the facility. When drop off day comes, your child will be greeted by a familiar face.
If you have any concerns about your child’s first day of camp, don’t hesitate to get in touch early. You are the expert on your child, so if you have any tips we are all ears! How do you normally comfort your child at home? Is there a book or stuffed animal from home that might help? We’ll be sure to pass this information on to our counsellors in order to ensure your child has the best camp experience possible.
2. Be positive, don’t hesitate
Displaying confidence and positive body-language can go a long way toward helping your child feel safe on that first day away from home. Your child will be more at ease if you seem comfortable. If the tears start flowing, it’s ok to show empathy and acknowledge your child’s feelings. Just don’t give in.
According to child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts, giving into a child’s tantrum on drop-off day will only make the problem worse: “Over time when you give in, you make the anxiety bigger. When you and your child say ‘goodbye,’ give a big hug, tell your child you love them, reassure your child you will pick them up on time, and then leave without fanfare.”
3. Take care of yourself
Drop off day is hard on parents too! Talk it over with a friend who’s been there. Treat yourself at a café. A little self-care can help you, and by extension your child, get more comfortable with drop-offs.
4. Follow up
Don’t hesitate to ask teachers and counsellors how your child is doing. We’ll be happy to give you a rundown of the ups and downs of the day. This will help all of us strategize and prepare for tomorrow morning’s drop-off. With a little luck and a whole lot of hard work, each one will get a little easier.
Keep in touch,
The Laurus Crew