The work to successfully transition kids from camp to school is a hurdle that parents and families have to get over at the end of summer. As amazing as camp is, without a plan to bridge the gap back to school, it can end on a down note. Just as campers might experience the post-camp blues, they too may have a hard time getting back to their school routine.
While your role as a camp leader is focused on what happens at camp, you can add value to your customers’ experiences by sharing tips they can use to ease the transition from camp to school. With the right preparation, leaving camp and returning to school can be a smooth experience. Review the ideas in this post and then repurpose them into your own website, email, and social media content to share with parents, families, and other caregivers.
Start with Pre-Camp Preparation
Among the many resources you share with families before camp, you can include tips to help them talk to their kids about the transition back to school. When these conversations start before camp begins, campers will have time to process and prepare. When families initiate these conversations early, they also have the opportunity to address any specific concerns campers have and set them up for success as summer wanes.
You can encourage parents to work with their kids to write out goals they have for the summer. Maybe it’s something they want to learn, a friend they want to connect with, or an activity they want to try for the first time. This way, when camp ends. Campers can be reminded of their goals. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and completion.
Campers can also be encouraged to use their newfound skills and interests year-round. If they developed new confidence at camp, encourage them to speak up in class or run for student council as a way to apply camp lessons to school experiences.
Adjust to Sleep and Schedule Changes
Another key aspect of the transition back to school is the adjustment to schedule changes. Summer camp often has a more relaxed schedule compared to school, so it can be difficult for children to adjust to waking up early and having a structured schedule again.
To make the transition easier, adjust campers’ bedtime and wake-up time in the few days between camp and school. This will help their bodies adjust to the school schedule and make it easier for them to wake up and be alert in the morning. When school starts, it won’t be such a shock to the system.
Process Feelings as You Transition Kids from Camp to School
Camp can be a transformative experience, and it’s likely that there are going to be strong emotions related to its end.
Parents should give space to these feelings and remind campers that it is normal to feel this way. Help them to keep in touch with their new friends through social media or by sending emails or letters.
Incorporate Camp into Daily Life
One way to aid parents and caregivers as they work to transition campers back to school is to help them incorporate elements of summer camp into their daily routines.
They can set aside time for outdoor activities, such as hikes or picnics. They can also encourage their campers to continue with any hobbies or interests they picked up at camp, such as photography or archery. By doing this, campers will be able to maintain a connection to the camp experience and keep the positive memories alive.
Families should encourage their campers to share their experiences with their friends and classmates and to continue to apply the lessons they learned at camp in their daily life. Summer camp teaches valuable life skills such as leadership, teamwork, and independence, and these skills will be beneficial to them throughout the school year and beyond.
Seek Help if Necessary
The transition back to school may be harder for some children than for others. Children who struggle with change, or who have difficulty with social interactions may need extra support and guidance. In these instances, parents might want to consider help from a therapist or counselor.
Give it Time
It’s important to remember that the transition back to school is a process, and it may take some time for kids to fully adjust. Remind parents to be patient and understanding and to work with their kids to look back on their summer camp experience as a time of growth and fun.
The transition back to school after summer camp can be hard, but with the right preparation, it can be a little smoother. In your role as a camp leader, you can provide tips to parents and caregivers. Encourage them to talk to their kids about the transition before camp ends, adjust their schedules before school starts, and incorporate elements of summer camp into their daily routines. Patience and understanding are critical, as is an openness to seek help. Summer camp is an experience that they will carry with them for a lifetime, and it is important to help them keep the summer camp spirit alive throughout the school year.