How Attending Summer Camp Alongside Online Counseling Can Benefit Anxious Kids

Photo of two Caucasian girls and one Caucasian boy standing outside in a group and holing a small chalkboard sign that reads Summer Camp. Photo could represent how great these kids feel since starting camp where they're gaining confidence along with online anxiety counseling for kids in Illinois and Florida.

Summer camp is often seen as a fun escape from the routines of daily life, filled with activities like swimming, hiking, and crafting. But for kids who struggle with anxiety, summer camp can offer much more than just fun. It can provide a supportive environment where they can learn to manage their anxiety, build confidence, and develop social skills. When combined with online counseling, the benefits of attending summer camp can be even greater.

Let’s explore how summer camp and online counseling can help anxious kids, and what to do if your child is hesitant about attending camp.

Benefits of Summer Camp for Anxious Kids

There are many benefits of summer camp, especially for kids and teens with anxiety such as:

Building confidence and independence

Anxious kids often feel overwhelmed by new experiences and shy away from challenges. Summer camp provides a safe space where they can step out of their comfort zone in a supportive environment.

Activities at camp, like trying a new sport or participating in a talent show, can help kids realize their potential and build confidence. Accomplishing tasks independently, without their parents’ immediate help, also encourages a sense of independence.

Developing social skills

Anxiety can make it difficult for kids to make friends and interact socially. At summer camp, kids are surrounded by peers in a relaxed, informal setting.

They have numerous opportunities to practice social skills, such as starting conversations, cooperating in team activities, and resolving conflicts. Camps often have trained counselors who can guide and support kids through these interactions, making socializing less intimidating.

Physical activity and nature

Physical activity is known to reduce anxiety by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural stress relievers. Summer camps typically offer a range of physical activities, from swimming and hiking to team sports and dancing. Being active helps anxious kids focus on the present moment, reducing worries about the future or regrets about the past.

Nature also plays a big role in reducing anxiety. Many camps are located in natural settings, away from the busyness of city life. The tranquility of nature can have a calming effect on anxious minds. Research shows that spending time outdoors can lower stress levels and improve overall mental health.

Structured routine with flexibility

Anxious kids often find comfort in routines but can also benefit from learning to adapt to new situations. Summer camps provide a structured schedule, which helps kids know what to expect each day.

However, the environment is more relaxed and flexible than a typical school day, allowing kids to gradually get used to changes and new experiences without feeling overwhelmed.

Benefits of Online Counseling Alongside Summer Camp

While sending your child off to summer camp can be a great confidence booster in and of itself, often supplementing it with individualized counseling can provide added support.

Personalized support of online counseling

While summer camp offers many benefits, counseling provides personalized support that addresses the specific needs of each child.

A counselor can work with your child to develop coping strategies for managing anxiety, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques, and positive self-talk. These tools can be particularly helpful when your child encounters stressful situations at camp.

Processing experiences

Counseling provides a space for kids to talk about their camp experiences and process their feelings. Anxious kids might need help understanding and interpreting social interactions or overcoming feelings of homesickness.

Regular online anxiety counseling sessions during or after camp can help kids make sense of their experiences and integrate what they’ve learned into their daily lives.

Parental involvement in online counseling

Counselors often work with parents to ensure they are equipped to support their child’s mental health. This collaboration can be especially important when kids return from camp and need help maintaining the progress they’ve made.

Parents can learn strategies to reinforce the coping skills their child has developed, creating a supportive home environment that continues to encourage growth and resilience.

What to Do if Your Anxious Child Doesn’t Want to Attend Summer Camp

It’s not uncommon for anxious kids to feel resistant to the idea of attending summer camp. Here are some steps you can take to help your child feel more comfortable with the idea:

Understand their concerns

Start by having an open conversation with your child about their worries. Listen without judgment and acknowledge their feelings. Understanding the specific reasons behind their reluctance can help you address their concerns more effectively.

Gradual exposure

Introduce your child to the idea of camp gradually. You can start by visiting the camp together, meeting the counselors, and learning about the activities offered. Many camps offer open houses or family days where you can get a feel for the environment. This gradual exposure can help reduce fear of the unknown.

Emphasize the fun aspects

Focus on the fun and exciting parts of camp that align with your child’s interests. If they love swimming, highlight the camp’s pool or lake. If they enjoy arts and crafts, talk about the creative projects they can work on. Relating camp activities to their hobbies can make the idea of camp more appealing.

Involve them in the decision-making

Involve your child in choosing the camp they will attend. Giving them a sense of control can reduce anxiety. Look at different camp options together and discuss what each one offers. Let your child have a say in which camp they feel most comfortable with.

Start with day camps

If an overnight camp feels too daunting, consider starting with a day camp. This allows your child to experience the camp environment during the day and return home in the evenings. Day camps can serve as a steppingstone to overnight camps in the future.

Encourage a trial period

Many camps offer short-term programs or trial periods. Suggest that your child try the camp for a few days to see how they feel. Knowing that they can come home if they really don’t like it can make the idea less intimidating.

Seek professional advice via online counseling for kids with anxiety 

If your child’s anxiety about camp is severe, consider seeking advice from a mental health professional. A child anxiety therapist can help address their fears and develop strategies to cope with the transition.

Online anxiety counseling for kids and teens can make a significant difference in helping your child feel more prepared and less anxious about attending camp.

In conclusion, attending summer camp can be a transformative experience for anxious kids, providing them with opportunities to build confidence, develop social skills, and enjoy physical activities in a supportive environment.

When combined with counseling, the benefits are even more pronounced, offering personalized support and tools to manage anxiety.

If your child is hesitant about attending camp, understanding their concerns, introducing them gradually to the camp environment, and involving them in the decision-making process can help ease their anxiety.

With the right support, summer camp can become a positive and empowering experience for your child, helping them grow and thrive in ways you may never have imagined.

Begin Online Counseling for Kids and Teens with Anxiety in Illinois and Florida!

If your child or teen is struggling with anxiety, there is hope! Anxiety is highly treatable and online anxiety treatment at Briefly Counseling can help.

Using Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, I help kids and teens reduce their anxiety and build resilience so they can become a happier, more confident version of themselves.

And kids love being able to receive counseling from the comfort and privacy of their own home. Studies have consistently proven that online therapy delivers equal results to in-office counseling.

As an experienced and caring therapist, I love providing counseling for anxiety. To start your child’s counseling journey, call me at 224-236-2296 or email to schedule a FREE 20-minute consultation.

Helena Madsen, MA, LCPC is the founder of Briefly Counseling. I specialize in providing online short-term anxiety treatment for kids and teens ages 7 – 18 as well as Christian counseling.

Whether you’re on the North Shore, in Naperville, Chicago, Champaign, Barrington, Libertyville, Glenview, or downstate Illinois, I can help.

And effective 2024, I am now licensed in Florida! For parents in Jacksonville, Pensacola, Destin, Crestview, Coral Gables, Weston, Parkland, Naples, Marco Island, and Pinecrest, I have immediate openings.

Schedule your appointment or consultation today. I look forward to working with your child to quickly and effectively help them in activating their strengths, resources, and resilience, in order to live with confidence and hope.