Is anyone else sending their kids off to summer camp this year? For generations, sleep-away summer camps have been used as a sort of right of passage for both parents and children as the kids get a taste of what it’s like to be a bit independent and parents get to miss their kids, maybe for the first time ever. Going to a sleep-away camp can be awesome, scary, empowering and filled with drama and it’s incredibly valuable as it gives kids something they cannot get from school alone: a relationship with nature, extensive team-building and freedom from you.

We all remember going to camp; the fighting for showers, feeling self-conscious during team sports and learning to flirt with the boys. Looking back, we realized that the moments leading up to leaving for summer camp provided an opportunity for our own parents to have some key conversations with us! So that we don’t miss out ourselves, here are 11 points on how to talk to your children before sending them off to sleep-away camp.

1. Homesickness
Be sure you discuss with your child that feeling homesick is totally normal and that, even though they may not being talking about it, their friends feel it too! Phillips Exeter Academy psychologist Dr. Christopher Thurber reported that “Homesickness is the norm and not the exception.” At least 83 percent of campers said they were homesick at least once a day while they were at camp.