Dr. Ditza Berger

Camp can be an awesome experience.  Here are some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” from veteran psychologist Dr. Ditza Berger on how you, Mommy and Abba, can prepare your children for the best summer ever.

Please do :

  1. Help your child get excited for camp by talking about the various things they can look forward to.
  2. Normalize the idea of having an adjustment period. They will experience a new environment.  Please don’t catastrophize it.  Tell your child that it is normal to sometimes miss home, but recognize that those feelings don’t last very long and keeping busy will help those feelings subside.
  3. Stress how important, and enjoyable, it is to participate in activities.  Let them know how curious you are to hear (read) about what they are doing and enjoying and reflect that positive enjoyment in subsequent emails and letters (night activity sounds like so much fun– the head counselors sound great).
  4. Remind yourself that it is normal for a child to have a hard time with something and that you can reach out to the camp to help your child problem solve. If you are really worried about something the camp wants to partner with you.
  5. Let your child know that if there is something bothering them, there are adults in camp that they can speak to.

Please don’t:

  1. Make a deal with your child saying that you will take them home if they are homesick.  Rather, emphasize the fact that you believe that they will really like and enjoy camp and that they will be able to handle those moments that are somewhat harder if they miss home.
  2. Panic if you get a sad letter or your child cries on the phone.  Very often children are sad one minute and off running and playing the next. Also, it takes approximately 3 days to get a letter and things can drastically change in that time. Please call/ email the camp if you are worried.

Dr. Ditza Berger received her PhD from the City University of New York and is a New York State Licensed Psychologist. She is a member of the guidance and wellness team at Lander College for Women, Touro University, where she also serves as a faculty advisor for the Department of Psychology.  She is the founder and director of Psychological Evaluation and Remediation Services in Cedarhurst, where she provides counseling. Since 2007 she has served as Staff Psychologist at Camp Sternberg where she provides ongoing staff training and supervision.

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