Clarify how the camp communicates.
Manage your expectations by finding out how you’ll get updates, including how often, what method you’ll use (email, text, online forum), and how you can respond. Can you post comments? Can you call the office if you’re concerned about something you saw in a camp photo? Can you send an email? What’s the turnaround time on texts, calls and emails? (Learn more about apps that let you keep tabs on your kid.)
Respect the camp’s rules.
Camps spend a lot of time and consideration creating rules around camper-parent communication. If parents are constantly contacting camp staff on social media, cell phones, email or the like, they can’t do their jobs.
Don’t make assumptions.
You may be anxious about how your kid is adjusting to camp life and looking for clues in the photos. But you really can’t draw conclusions from photos about how your kid feels or how they’re doing. If there’s a problem, the camp will call you.
Look for the good.
Focus on what looks positive. Is your kid engaged in an activity? Are they doing something fun—maybe something that they’ve always wanted to do? Don’t worry if your son’s shirt looks dirty or if your daughter’s hair is messy—those could actually be signs that they’re having fun.
Respect other campers’ privacy.
Don’t share group shots of the campers or updates from the staff with family and friends. The other kids have a right to privacy. (Find out what to do if other people post photos of your kid without your permission.) You can always crop your kid out of a photo and just share that one image.
Avoid texting your kid.
A lot of camps forbid cell phones for a variety of reasons, but if your kid did bring a cell phone to camp, don’t message them no matter how much you miss them. It’s actually not good for your kid if they hear from you because it can make it difficult for them to adjust to camp life and make them homesick.
Stop before you become a stalker.
A little anxiety is natural—especially if it’s your kid’s first time away from home—but take a deep breath and know that you’re being an excellent parent by helping them learn independence!
By Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media