Empty nest camp syndrome
This summer may be a new experience with your child starting day camp, overnight camp or a teen summer program. Being engaged and making the most of your time is going to ease those separation anxieties. Your child will be having a great time and learning new things. So can you!
The summer goes by so quickly and before you know it, your camper will be returning home. While the calendar says summer lasts until September, for most parents, it ends in August with the back-to-school rush. Plan to make it memorable by creating new rituals and new summer memories. Here are some ideas and reminders for you:
Summer ideas for moms
- Has getting your child ready and dropped off at camp left you sad and stressed out? Now is the time to pamper you! Book a relaxing massage and facial at a local spa or escape for the day on a hike or to the beach.
- Reconnect with your spouse or significant other at the romantic B&Bs in the vicinities of camps!
- Use the summer to bond and reunite with close friends you rarely get a chance to spend time with during the school year, or those with whom you went to school. Their children may be away at camp too!
- Join a Zumba, Pilates, or Yoga class. Your body and mind will thank you!
- Sign up for a summer course, or consider brushing up on a foreign language with tutors. Who says learning is just for the young?
- Sharpen your job search skills and polish your resume.
- Use this uninterrupted time to clear out clutter. It is empowering!
- Complete the organization or redesign project you've been putting off during the winter or start a new home project!
- Save the memories of your trip to camp, and the family at home, in a scrapbook or online journal.
Summer ideas for the family
- Get involved in a volunteer project at home or abroad with www.voluntourism.org.
- Plan to take advantage of the scenic locations surrounding camp and schedule a trip around the visiting/pick-up day. Check the camp's website and links for area lodging, dining, and attractions. If your teen is abroad, or across the country, consider a visit to this area.
- If you are considering camps for next summer, this summer is the best time to visit while they are in session. Check with the individual camps for touring information.
- Consider taking vacation days to enjoy longer weekends in the summer. Try outdoor activities your kids may be exposed to such as canoeing, water skiing or horseback riding. You can share experiences.
- If you like it hot, look for summer travel bargains to warm destinations -- or, start planning a warm winter getaway. Explore major US cities and Canada with www2.citypass.com and the SheKnows CityGuide.
- Go "local" and explore your own town or nearest city - walking tours, museums, and cultural activities, etc. You don't need to wait for out-of-town visitors to experience local tourism spots!
- Check out the municipal pools or private swim clubs. Some offer daily admission plus swimming classes for the kids at home.
- Embark on family adventures with your younger kids – many parks, libraries and museums have special summer attractions for kids, as well as adults. Consider starting a vegetable garden with them, with easy pre-seeded vegetable garden mats. Cherish summer activities with siblings still at home; they – and you – will forever remember this alone time.
- Plan a family reunion for when your child returns from camp.
- If your camper hasn't yet left, send a funny letter or card to await his/her arrival at camp, remembering to keep your own "homesickness" away from your child to yourself.
- Follow the camp's activities through the restricted parent website access, but don't expect, or request, to see your child. These photos or videos are taken at random. Some camps and programs also post journals.
- Check the mailbox for those letters from camp, and get ready to write upbeat communications back via letters or E-mails after checking the camp policy.
- Remember camp package policies are strict. Age-appropriate comic books and magazines make great 'flat' mail for kids.
- Now is the time to schedule pre-school doctor appointments before the offices get all booked – doctors have been away on vacations too!
- Summer sales are an excellent opportunity to revamp your wardrobe and save for next summer's camp season.
- Begin planning for next summer – it is never too early!
Do you have a question for our camp expert
Do you have a question for our summer camp expert, Jill Tipograph? Go to our camp message boards here and post your question.