My 8 year old will be going to his first school camp tomorrow. He is super excited and can’t wait to have his first night of independence away from family to bunk down with his mates and have a taste of freedom.
For me, I worry that I haven’t prepared him well enough to be his own person. He still struggles to tie his own shoelaces, but is showing signs that he’s getting there. He still needs to be reminded to brush his teeth and eat everything on his plate. He still needs help to turn the shower on, but I’ve explained to him every shower is different. And the weather is just going to be foul, so I don’t know if he has the understanding that he needs to put on wet-weather gear, and if he does get wet, he needs to change his clothes rather than sit in them and get sick.
My 8 year old also has speech and learning difficulties. He struggles to be able to communicate exactly what he needs to say, and reading things, like menus and instructions will prove difficult for him.
But we’ve travelled enough now for him to understand that he needs to look after his belongings, keep them all in one place (his suitcase!) and put things back when he’s finished with them. We haven’t packed his bag yet, but he knows there’s a list to stick to and we can’t go beyond the list.
I must admit, I probably don’t give him enough credit. He’s a beautiful little boy who’s very capable when he puts his head to it and I do put him in situations that he hates to do, but makes him grow… things like ordering his own food at the hockey canteen (and getting the change!), being responsible for his own bags when we travel and not expecting me to carry them for him… things like that.
I’m sure he’ll have a fabulous time and he’ll be fine. His teachers know his limitations. At this age, it’s only a one night camp. At his school, as each year level progresses, they add an extra night to their school camps, so it’s a slowly progressing off-leash to freedom.
He’ll be home on Friday to tell me all about it.