Whether it's a day camp, a weeklong sleep-away camp or a month-long camp abroad, sending your child to soccer camp for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience for the both of you. Here are a few ways to ease the transition and help them enjoy the experience.
Involve them in the planning and the prep work.
Likely there are many soccer camps to choose from, so narrow it down by your child's needs and your budget, and let your child make the final decision on where to go. If that's not possible, then perhaps he or she can pick some of the activities or classes to take at camp.
Also, let your kids pick out some of the things they'll need for camp. Whether it's practice clothes and new shin guards or a toothbrush holder and face soap, letting them help with the planning and preparation will give them some control over the situation, and hopefully stave off the worst of homesickness.
Practice getting ready for new experiences.
One of the scariest things about any first time at camp is that it's an unknown. Find out what will be new to your kids and help them practice doing it. If your kids are going abroad, buy a language dictionary and practice saying simple things like "please" and "thank you" and asking for directions. If they're just going out of town, spend a day over in the town if it's within driving distance. If you happen to know or learn some of the drills they'll be doing, practice those with your kids in the backyard or the local soccer fields.
New experiences are an exciting and sometimes terrifying part of soccer camp, but practicing a little before your kids go will make the adjustment a lot easier.
Talk to them.
Are your kids worried about camp, that they won't be as good as the other players? Are they excited? Both? Sit down and talk with them about it. Let them know that it's OK to have mixed feelings about going. Talk about homesickness, but be positive and encouraging about all the new things they'll learn and experiences they'll have.
If they're worried about keeping in touch with friends and family, give them some stationery and an address book, or a phone card so they can call. Or, try giving them a journal so they can write down their soccer camp adventures, and they can share it with their friends when they return.
And don't forget to have fun!
Scary as it may be, the first time away at soccer camp can also be a fun and rewarding experience that will have your kids begging to go back year after year. By taking a few steps to make the transition as smooth as possible, you can make sure they get the most out of their time at camp.
To give your child the cultural experience of a lifetime, visit EduKick.com and check out the international soccer camps available.