By Jodie Lynn
My six-year-old-son is in a boy's club that teaches boys how to do various hands-on activities. The leader has suggested that they camp out as a group for stronger bonding. There are about ten other boys in the club. However, my son is petrified of spending the night away from home. How can I introduce him to the good things about staying away from home and the fun he will have from doing so?
ANSWER FROM READER:
Ask the leader if he needs any adult volunteers for that specific night. Normally, they do and will appreciate parents who are able to come on board. However, if your son would truly benefit from the overnight camping trip, perhaps you could stay as long as possible and then leave telling him that you will be back in the morning. If while you are preparing to leave he becomes anxious and upset, just take him with you. Like you said, the trip is for a bonding experience, which it won't be if he is truly scared. Just explain all of this to the leader beforehand so that there are no surprises should your son need to leave when you do. - A. H. in Memphis, TN
While I realize that there may be some six-year-olds that do spend the night with friends and relatives, it is actually a little young for an overnight, outdoor camping trip or really any kind of overnight experience without adults, unless it is at his own house. Surely, the boy's club leader would welcome as much information about your son as possible and may even change it to an outdoor adventure that would end at an acceptable time during the same evening for all of the kids. Camping is a wonderful experience for kids and should be held in high regard as a positive bonding event. Should there be anything scary or stressful about it, just like with anything else, it could very well be years before he considers trying it again. If he has already displayed this type of anxiety, I would pass on it until he gets a couple of years older. The last thing he needs at this point is to have his fears negatively exploited in front of several other children ending in fear of future experiences away from home.
CAN YOU HELP?
I am shocked at the amount of sugary products still offered to our children in the snack machines. In fact, there are three of them located in prominent spots throughout my children's small private school. Is it allowed because it is a private school and they are not governed by stricter health food laws? Are there any mandated health food laws when it comes to children and the snack machines? How do I go about bringing this topic up with the principal without appearing to be a complaining parent?
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