How Parents Can Deal with Young Children’s Separation Anxiety: Advice from Camp Directors in Suffolk County, Long Island

When it comes to raising your kids, you want the best advice out there, which is why we turned to the experts.

Will this summer be your little one’s first camp experience? His first time away from home and his family? Prepare for separation anxiety at camp by reading the advice we’ve compiled from some of Suffolk County’s experienced camp and summer program directors.


“How should parents deal with young children’s separation anxiety?”


“Go ahead and allow the staff to handle the child upon arrival. Most often, the situation improves – if not completely disappears – once the parent leaves and once the child’s attentions are redirected.”

-Bob Polcha, Director, Knox School Summer Adventures, St. James


“Parents should make the goodbyes short, sweet, and quick. I always find the quicker they say goodbye the better, and if I see a parent getting choked up, I take them out of the room.”

-Janice Maggio, Director, The Summer Camps at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook


“Patience on the parents’ side is necessary. The parents’ feelings are projected to the child so if there is even an inkling that they will be upset, that will be communicated to the child. If the parent is excited, the child is going to acclimate better to the new situation. The pre-camp visit is a must, and meeting the staff alleviates issues with the parents, and gets them to be more comfortable.”

-Heidi Giffuni, Director, Harbor Country Day School Summer Camps, St. James



Also see advice on separation anxiety from camp directors in:




Westchester County

Rockland County

Fairfield County, CT

Nassau County, Long Island