This week, our little one, Elijah, attended for the first time a day camp.
I guess, as most parents, I was nervous. Not only it was a new experience for him, but none (except for the first day) of his friends would be at the camp. He is normally a shy boy, so I knew that it would not be easy for him to make new friends.
My husband and I thought that this particular day camp would be great for him at this stage of his life. It is a great camp that includes both outdoor and physical activities. We thought that it would help Elijah develop motor and social skills.
Although Elijah was not against the idea, he was not necessarily very excited with it. It was clear that he was nervous, and not too happy with the fact that none of his friends would be there. I guess, it was probably what anyone would feel when put in an "unknown" environment.
My husband and I discussed the issue with Elijah a few times during the week. Our main goal was to help him talk about his fears while helping him see the positive sides of the whole experience. Fears are normal, but it's important to learn how to deal with them. We also helped him to see the positive sides of doing something new, including making new friends, learning new sports, visiting new places, etc. Of course, we also let him know that we were, and will always, be very proud of him no matter what.
Our Elijah is an amazing little boy! Although I am certain he was still fearful when we left him at the camp today, I was so happy to see him smiling and be ready to enjoy the day. It was clear that he was trying to conquer his fears, and he was doing it amazingly well! I am certain that it was not easy for him, but he was trying hard. I am so happy for him because trying to deal with our fears is a very important, and not easy, exercise. The skills that he will develop through this experience will help him to deal with other difficult situations in life.
Helping our children conquer their fears can be difficult work. But, you will find that things go better when you first help your children to recognize and talk about their fears. Then, you need to make certain they know that you are there to help deal with their fears. Finally, they need to know that you will always be very proud of them.