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SkyMoms > Parenting Tips

Five Tips To Help Moms Thrive While Kids Are At Camp

I don’t know about you, but dropping kids off at camp stirred up mixed emotions for me. Certainly, I was bursting with excitement. But I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit the twinge of anxiety I felt, kissing them goodbye and placing them in someone else’s care.

This was particularly true as I watched our first-time camper son turn to go. I was impressed with how he held it together. But I knew he was overwhelmed with anxiety. He’s cautious and a mama’s boy and he’d never been away without family. Would he survive the week?

Well, he didn’t just survive. He thrived! And that’s because the Sky Ranch staff is well-trained to care for first-time campers. Our son deepened his relationships, made new friends, tried new things, and conquered fears. When I picked him up, he told me the only bad thing about camp was “that it had to end.”

Since camp opened two weeks ago, I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many moms. But one stands out. She’s a mom to three first-time campers, dropping two of them off on their birthday.

She was struggling about facing the week without them when she showed up at the SkyMoms table. We’ve been exchanging emails since Sunday, and in her last email, she said, “It feels good to know I’m not alone.”

She’s not alone and neither are you. There are women across the country who are worried about the same things, feeling the same feelings, and asking the same questions you are while your kids are at camp. I know because I was one of them.

But we’ve got this! We can cope! Let’s not survive camp. Let’s thrive! Here are five things I did while our kids were at camp that helped me. I hope they’ll help you:

Listen to the Parent Podcast

Did you know we have a Parent Podcast (iTunes or Android)? It includes 8 episodes: one for before camp opening,  one for on the way, and one for each day your kids are gone. The podcast will tell you what your kids are learning and doing each day and how you can pray for them. They’re designed to listen day-by-day, but can be adapted to whatever will work with your schedule. The podcasts helped me connect with my kids and made me feel more like a fly on the wall than a mom a hundred miles away!

Look at the Pictures

Beginning late Monday afternoon of each session, Sky Ranch will send daily email updates. These emails will alert you that new photos from camp are available for viewing. (All photos are uploaded by 6 pm.) I can’t promise you’ll see a photo of your child every day, but you will catch glimpses of them throughout the week. Seeing their smiling faces online will do your heart some good! (Rumor has it that some moms bribe their kids to encourage them to get in pictures. I’ve never actually done this because I live with a bunch of hams, but it might be worth a try!)

Send Care Packages

Whether you’re “all in” with care packages or simply write love notes doesn’t matter. But do bring a few things with you to camp opening so the staff can deliver them to your kids throughout the week. Sure we miss our kids when they’re gone, but I think the hardest thing for us to endure is the wonder of how our kids are doing without us. Care packages create a touch point to home and provide the opportunity to speak encouraging words to our kids to help them thrive while they’re away.

Spend Time in Prayer

Several years ago, when I was going through a trying time, I learned to never wait to take my anxiety to the Lord in prayer. As soon as the feelings would overcome me, I’d start to pray. And as soon as I’d start to pray, the Holy Spirit would overwhelm me with a sense of peace. So each time you begin to worry about your kids at camp, take your worries to the Lord in prayer. (And if you’re listening to our Parent Podcast (iTunes or Android), you can pray more specifically…hint, hint.)

Do Something for Yourself

Finally, do not sit at home and mope! Intentionally set aside time throughout the week to enjoy yourself. Go on a date with your spouse. Have lunch with a friend. Get a manicure. Do some shopping.  And if you’re like me, do all those things and seize the opportunity to throw away half of your children’s belongings while they aren’t there to argue! Whatever it is that gives you energy and fills you up, do it while your children are away. You need this time away from them as much as they need this time away from you!