My daughter is going to her first sleep-away camp next week, and to be honest, I'm not handling it all that well.
We've never done sleepovers at other people's houses, and now she's heading off with a bunch of other kids and counselors I don't even know. It feels like all the talks about stranger danger, sticking up for yourself and speaking up when you're uncomfortable are all coming down to this. And the question I keep asking myself is, "Have I done enough to prepare her?"
She will be without me for several days and nights, making her own decisions, and I just hope I've taught her well and given her the confidence to make good choices on her own.
I've also been talking to other parents about how they best prepared their kids for their first overnight excursion, and implemented a few of the top tips, such as:
The truth is, I'm mostly scared because this is a big milestone. It's the first time my daughter will be more or less on her own, stretching her wings a bit. And while I know she'll come home at the end, I also know that she'll be a little different. The first solo flight always changes kids, making them a little wiser and a little less the girl she's been before.
As a mom, that's what we want. The whole goal is to raise children who are independent and confident enough to head out — even in these first small ways — into the world without us. But man, it's hard to watch them go.