Leaving your child for the first time!

Tears, tantrums, and screaming! No, this isn’t your child, this is you. It’s the first time you have allowed your little one to leave the nest. This time of year there are lots of Winter Ski Camps around Japan.

I was just in Nagano last week and I saw groups of young campers enjoying the snow-capped mountains and making mini-snowmen. The children were having a great time! But I wonder what were their parents doing?

Questions for parents:
Were you calling other parents to find out if you they heard of any natural disasters?  Were you pacing the floor berating yourself for allowing your child to leave?  Were you thinking of a million different injuries that could befall your little one?

If you were, then you needed an intervention! I’m sorry I wasn’t there, but I want to prepare you for the next time.

Sending your child off to camp during the winter or summer is a great way for your child to learn independence, confidence and self-reliance.  On our last ski trip, I had one parent who spent a week worrying before we even boarded the bus.  While we were waiting to leave for ski camp, she climbed on the bus and rearranged her child’s seat so he could sit with the children that he likes.  I understand it is difficult to leave your child for the first time, but smothering them with your concern doesn’t help them.

Children need to learn independence.  Since I was with the boy in question for four days, I never noticed one moment when he cried or called for his mom.  He ran around in the snow and skied with all the other children. He had a ball!  And what about mom…well when we arrived at the school, she said the first two days were difficult, but by the third and fourth day she enjoyed some of the free time that she had while her son was away.

A note to mom’s and dad’s, don’t forget who you were before you had children. Babysitters, camps, overnight visits with friends will give you a chance to refresh yourself while providing your child with the opportunity to gain confidence and character.

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About Michaela Chatman

Michaela Chatman is the founder of Camp Roadless Summer Visual and Performing Arts Summer Camp based in the Tokyo area. She has taught in Chicago, New York City, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. She has worked with children from ages 5-16. She is a dedicated fan and supporter of the arts. She performs locally in Tokyo with Kaguratei, a blues band. She is an active member in TELL:Exceptional Parents Group, Japan Affiliate of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum (JASCD), Tokyo Investment Group, and Pink Cow Connections Networking Group. For fun she organizes The Tokyo Lovers Pizza Meetup Group.
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