How do you know when your son had a great time at summer camp? At Mowglis, one thing we frequently hear from our parents is that you wish you could talk more easily with your children. Your child’s return from summer camp is a great time to change relationship habits and open new lines of communication. Surprisingly, it’s often as simple as beginning with questions about his camping experience and engaging your child in topics that spark their excitement.
Avoid Rushing Back to Tech after Overnight Summer Camp
Your son has been “unplugged” for his entire Mowglis experience. Instead of rushing to return his phone and gaming system over the car seat, take the time to reconnect and find out more about the fun and adventures he’s had at camp during rowing, archery, and hiking while he’s been away from technological distractions. The more your child gets used to talking with you, the more effortless it will become, and the more your relationship will grow.
Take Note of Conversation Openers in Your Sleepaway Camp Conversation
When talking with your son, stay focused and responsive, leaving your thoughts about traveling home, dinner, or work, for later. Your son has had an exciting camp experience, trying new camp activities in a completely different environment and community. While discussing his adventures, watch for cues about upcoming topics that will help you create a deeper conversation, like friendships he’s developed in our tight-knit camping community with campers, counselors, and staff or his daily responsibilities. Show your child that every conversation with him takes precedence over daily distractions, and he’ll be more likely to open up to you.
Be Responsive and Inquisitive About Summer Camp Experiences, but Hold the Advice
Instead of asking how camp was this summer, ask specific questions like:
- What new experiences did you have?
- Who did you meet?
- What was your favorite thing about summer camp?
- How’d you do without your phone?
- Did you miss home-cooked meals?
- Did you ever get to take a shower?
Avoid “why” questions that can make kids feel defensive, like why he struggled with a particular activity or facet of camp. Instead, boost his security by asking if he thinks other kids encountered similar challenges. Rather than jumping in and telling your son your personal experiences or what he could have done differently, simply listen, letting him share his experiences and seek your advice.
Take Time Each Day to Connect with Your Child after Overnight Camp
Your son’s return from camp is the ideal opportunity to start fresh. After your ride home to Boston, Portland, Maine, or other nearby New England states from Mowglis’ New Hampshire camp, look for daily opportunities when you’re both available to connect. Make it a ritual during drives or chores, around meals, or before bed. After your child spends a few weeks away, he will likely return with a new appreciation for his life, including the things you do for him and home luxuries he didn’t get at camp, feeling a deeper connection with his family and home life.
Avoid the Inquisition
Don’t make a daily conversation a rigid event or press your son to share. Teens especially value their privacy. When he does open up, be more willing to listen than talk. Reflect key points showing you understand, inspiring further conversation gently like you would with a friend. Even short, surface conversations inspire deeper connections – your patience will pay off.
Look Forward to Future Events Together
Whether it’s an upcoming sports event or next summer’s overnight camp program, use future events to strike up conversations, connect, and build your relationship. When your son is away at summer camp each year, think of ways your family can start fresh on his return, encouraging a positive family dynamic.
Ensure your son has a great time at summer camp, engaging in conversation and carrying that vibe home to build better relationships and a bright future. Don’t miss out on the progress of the upcoming camping season. Contact Camp Mowglis at 603-744-8095 to reserve your spot at next year’s sleepaway camp for boys today.