If Your Child Is Getting Ready For Sleepaway Camp, Here Are Some Great Tips

Go with someone you know
The beginning of camp can be hard, so having someone familiar in camp with you might help you keep calm.

  • Going with your best friend might not be necessary, but having someone familiar who you can check in with and say ”Hi” to on occasion can make the beginning easier.
  • If you are going with an older sibling and not a friend your age, ask your parents if they know of anyone that you can meet beforehand so you have a familiar face in your division.

Ask questions!
Just because you are going with your friend Moshe who has been going to Camp Yaakov for three summers, it’s okay to still have questions about things you aren’t so sure about.  If you don’t know how something during the summer is going to work, ask your parents or someone who has gone before how it works. You don’t need to worry about the “What if’s” alone, there’s likely is an answer!

Don’t let Mom pack by herself
Once you are in camp, Mom’s not picking out your clothing in the morning, so you gotta know what you are packing!

  • In camp things are going to get dirty! If you’re afraid to get something dirty, don’t pack it.
  • Don’t over pack! Just because you really like all your hockey jerseys – you don’t need to bring all 20 of them.  Especially because you don’t want to get anything lost.
  • Bring your favorite toothpaste flavor (and soap, and shampoo!). Making sure to use your toiletries in camp is very important, even though that can be hard to do. Be sure that you actually like the products you bring with you. It’s silly to bring bubble gum toothpaste when you only like the watermelon flavor.

Be prepared to try something new
Even if you don’t think you’ll like an activity, give it a chance at camp. You never know what you might end up enjoying. You might really like Zumba, but if you sit on the side you’ll never know.

  •  :)Even if you are coming into camp with friends from school, become friendly with new kids!
  • You might have been used to different chores than the ones assigned to you in camp. Maybe you aren’t the only kid who has never cleaned the sinks or set up your own sheets before! Just because it is new to you, doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to do it.

Ask for help if you need it
Camp is filled with staff members and adults that are able to help you when you need help Some ideas of who to ask for help:

  • Your counselors
  • Infirmary staff
  • Your division head
  • Camp Parent

Just because you are nervous, doesn’t mean you can’t be excited
Beginnings can be hard, but it really does get better. Don’t worry if you are homesick the first few days, because a lot of people feel that way. The reason why no one tells you that is because by the end of the summer you are camp-sick, and you don’t remember those hard beginning days as much!

See if you can come up with two possible solutions to each of these camp situations. Ask your parents, siblings, or friends if you need help coming up with ideas.

  • You made a new friend, Shana, in camp. Your friend from home, Chani, isn’t friends with Shana. How can you be friends with both of them while you are in camp?
  • Camp sometimes serves fish sticks for lunch. You really don’t like eating fish sticks. What should you do?
  • Yesterday the laundry went out and you forgot to put your clothing in the bag. The bunk’s laundry doesn’t go out for another three days, but you already ran out of clean undershirts.  What should you do now?
  • During canteen time you see someone from your bunk making fun of a kid you don’t know. What should you do?
  • You never ever wet the bed at home. But last night you wet the bed in camp. You are so embarrassed and you don’t want anyone to know.  What should you do?
  • Your parents just sent you the newest Archie comic in the mail. Your friend Baruch saw that you just got it and wants to borrow it. It is brand new so you don’t really want to share it. What are you supposed to do?
  • You are given a job for clean up that you are having a hard time doing since you have never done it before and you don’t know how to do it. What should you do?
  • Dina was so nice and let you borrow her towel. You left it on the line to dry and now when you went to return it, it isn’t there anymore. What should you do? Congratulations on thinking about all of these questions! You are one step closer to camp readiness!  Wishing you an awesome summer!

Batsheva Feldman is a senior completing her undergraduate degree at Queens College and is a student intern at the Five Towns Wellness Center in Cedarhurst, NY for Dr. Sara Schwartz-Gluck.

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Not So Plain Jane: An Article by Dr. Sara Schwartz Gluck

by Sara Schwartz Gluck, PhD, LCSW

“JANE, 17 – Ripe with young womanhood, lustrous dark skin and flashing eyes – hurries through the crowd.” Ross Putman, a Hollywood producer, recently released descriptions of female characters from actual scripts he has reviewed. He couldn’t help but notice that the physical attributes of those characters were an integral part of the plotlines that were laid out by scriptwriters. In an act of courage that validated feminists everywhere, Putman released quote after quote verbatim via twitter (@femscriptintros) changing nothing but the character names, which he switched to JANE.

“Jane, 22, makes her grand appearance. She is a breathtaking young woman, a vision of natural beauty.”

If it weren’t so blatantly sexist, it may actually be laughable. Why is a woman’s appearance the first thing that is prioritized? What if Jane were not breathtakingly stunning? What if Jane, the female lead in any storyline, would be in her mid 30’s, with crow’s feet around her slightly tired eyes, a rounded stomach, and a brilliant mind? Well, then maybe she would be appreciated for her internal qualities, instead of being viewed as an object. But that would likely make viewership decline, create a drop in ratings, and gross less profit.

Read full article here >>

Chocolate Therapy: An Article by Dr. Sara Schwartz Gluck

Ben, an overweight 7th grader, struggled to keep up during gym class. He would stand on the side with his awkward classmate, and they bonded over trying to avoid physical activity. When Ben grew older, he was accepted to a few good colleges, but he kept dropping out of school. He hung out with his old friend from junior high, who was unsuccessfully attempting to get into medical school. The two of them took a look at themselves- college dropouts from a small town on Long Island- and decided that the one thing they excelled at was eating. Especially eating ice cream. Ben Cohen and his friend Jerry Greenfield sent $5 to Penn State University for a correspondence course on ice cream making. They pooled their savings and opened a small ice cream store, and named it Ben and Jerry’s.

Read the full article here >>


About Sara:

Sara Schwartz-Gluck, LCSW is a Clinical Social Worker who works with children and adults, and has lectured at schools and mental health organizations throughout NY and NJ.


When Recess is the Worst Part of the Day

by Sara Schwartz-Gluck, LCSW

“I have a stomachache, Mommy. It hurts so much” 8 year old Eliana looked up at her mother with tears in her pleading eyes. 7:45 AM. Stomachache time. Some days it was a headache, others it was a vague leg pain, but mostly it was the standard stomachache. Eliana knew that when she got to school, she’d be alone. At recess time she would stand at the side of the playground, watching while the other children played jump rope and ball. She would rather clutch at her stomach until she made it hurt for real, than go to school and be alone for another day.

Why do some children have a hard time making and keeping friends?

Social challenges can be especially difficult for young children. They often lack the skills for handling playground situations. Problems that could be solved with some basic solutions may seem insurmountable. Telling a teacher what is going on may seem like a task too hard to face. The factors listed below are some of the root causes of social skill problems. Often, when we see a child who has a hard time with peers, it’s because there is another, deeper, problem that is showing up in the way he or she acts. The social skill deficit may be just a symptom.

  • Anxiety. Children who have phobias or anxiety may be worried about how they appear socially. They may freeze when in a group setting, finding themselves too afraid to interact with others.
  • Temperament. Some children are naturally shy and introverted. They may struggle to assert themselves in a group setting. Saying, “Can I play with you?” may be too risky for kids who are used to being quiet.
  • Academic Challenges. Children tend to view their peers by the way they perform in the classroom. If one child goes out to the resource room, answers questions wrong in class, or does poorly on tests, s/he may be viewed as inferior by classmates who are too young or ignorant to tell the difference between academic and social success.
  • Low Self Esteem. Children may develop low self confidence for a variety of reasons. The problem is that once they are convinced that they are not as good as their classmates, it may be hard for them to believe that they could actually make friends.
  • Speech or Motor Skill Delays. When children have a physical delay, that often affects the way that they function with friends. Children with speech delays may have a hard time expressing themselves in a way that their peers

can understand. Children with motor skill or sensory problems may struggle with the physical aspect of playing games and using appropriate social boundaries.

  • Low Frustration Tolerance. Some children find themselves getting angry when things don’t go the way they expect. They punch, kick, or yell instead of communicating in ways that can be more effective.

What does a social skill deficit look like?

Zevy stuck his hands into his pockets and wandered around the schoolyard. He was in no rush. He had nowhere to go during the fifteen-minute recess. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his classmates starting a game of football. Why did they never let him play? He got angrier and angrier as he saw all the kids having fun. All he wanted was to be a part of it. He ran to Chaim, that boy who was always in charge, and grabbed the ball, pushing Chaim to the ground. “Ha ha, now no one can play!” Zevy thought to himself.

Social skill deficits most commonly appear in two ways: loneliness and aggression. The lonely child is left out of games and discussions, either by choice or because s/he has no friends. The lonely child may have difficulty with skills such as making eye contact, initiating conversation, respecting social boundaries, and maintaining a positive self-image. The aggressive child may use words or actions to hurt other children. The aggressive child may be perceived as a ‘bully’ and may have difficulty with skills such as recognizing and managing emotions, tolerating frustration, and communicating in a healthy way. Being alone, and using aggression may be equally painful when children just don’t know why they are not making friends. They may not realize that the things they do are alienating them from their classmates.

Helping from the Outside In

How do we help children who are suffering in social settings? One key and underutilized way of helping is communicating with the other adults in a child’s life. When parents and teachers make the effort to reach out and have conversations about a child’s challenges, new solutions can be found. A teacher may be able to pay special attention to a struggling child during recess, ensure that the child has a partner for a special project, or praise the child in class. However, this can only happen if the teacher is aware of the problem. Sometimes even the most talented teachers may not realize that a child is hurting inside. Once they are made aware, teachers can be allies for students facing social difficulties.

Helping from the Inside Out

Children can learn many skills that help them feel more confident and prepared in social situations. Picture the process of building muscle through exercise- it takes time and effort, but ultimately builds strength. The same goes for learning social skills- the process may take children out of their comfort zone, but it ultimately helps them build social ‘muscle’ that they can use to conquer many social situations. Children are very resilient, and with the right support they can change the way they interact with peers.


About Sara:

Sara Schwartz-Gluck, LCSW is a Clinical Social Worker who works with children and adults, and has lectured at schools and mental health organizations throughout NY and NJ.