A Parent’s Guide: When Kids Are Away At Camp

campingMy daughter goes on a camping trip every year with her grandparents to Kentucky.  Normally she is gone for one week, but this year it’s two!  She has a blast getting to see our family and play with her cousins, and I feel better knowing she is with my parents than away at a camp where I don’t know anyone.  But, either way, when your kid is away for more than a few days, it can be tough to survive as parents!

In my research, I couldn’t find anything on how a parent survives when a kid leaves for camp.  I mean here we were packing up all of her things, and setting her out on this adventure. The minute the fifth wheel pulled out of the drive, my husband and I just looked at each other with a blank stare. “So, what are we going to do now?” said my husband. With a deflated tone in my voice and a frump in my shoulders I said, “I don’t know.”

“I don’t know?”  What happened to “seize the day”, “take the bull by the horns”, or “let’s get this party started?” So for my own benefit and yours I’ve compiled a checklist of sorts.

A Parent’s To Do List During Summer Camp:

  • Go to a movie that doesn’t have a Muppet or cartoon character in it. While you are at it, live it up and see a double feature on a lazy Sunday afternoon!
  • Eat at a restaurant that takes reservations and has a good wine menu. You may notice awkward silence at first as you aren’t used to dining with your spouse without playing tic-tac-toe on a kids menu. But, it gives you a chance to get to know each other again.
  • Workout together. No kid, no excuses, go to the gym, walk around the neighborhood, but get moving.
  • Clean/organize your home. You have plenty of extra time, take on a project and “Get ‘er done!”
  • Clean/organize or makeover your kid’s room(s) for them. Yeah, maybe they don’t deserve it, but it sure would give them a nice welcome when they get back.
  • Cuddle with your hubby. I love family cuddle time, but it is nice to have some cuddle time with just your spouse.
  • Cook dinner together. You have the time, so forget being on the go. There’s no piano lesson to make or dance class to get to. Skip the fast food and enjoy time cooking with each other.
  • Play cards or board games. This is one my husband is always trying to get me to do, but I am just not much of a card player. But, while my daughter is away I’m going to make a point to have a card date!
  • Go to the pool!  If you are in Florida you probably do this all the time when the kids are home. But, this time you won’t have to worry about keeping an eye on your kids and you can actually relax!
  • Stay up late! Forget bedtimes and routine, plan a night to stay up late watching old 80’s movies.
  • Sleep in late!  That’s right, take advantage of a kids-free house and sleep in till at least 9am! My daughter is like an alarm clock. She’s up at precisely 6:30 am everyday. Sleeping in rarely happens.
  • Write to your kids. We created an email address for our daughter so that she can email us on the trip. She loves it and it is a great way to keep in touch, and practice letter writing skills!
  • Call them, just don’t go overboard with it. This is really more for you than it is for them. When I call my daughter she is always very busy in the middle of some kind of game with her cousins, and I don’t seem to always have her attention, but I get to hear her voice and know she is ok.
  • Spend quiet time separately. Whether it is reading a book, taking a walk, writing your blog, or whatever you like doing, spend time alone. When you have kids you rarely have moments alone. Not even in the bathroom. Cherish it while they are away and don’t waste it!

What are some of your favorite things to do while your kids are away at summer camp?


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