Ah, summer camp--it's a time that many parents and their children look forward to each year. If you're considering camp, the idea of parting with your child for so long may be stressful. Understanding the benefits may help to relieve your anxieties. Little ones develop better life, social and survival skills when they attend a good camp, all while developing friendships that may last a lifetime. Still unsure? Check out these four fabulous skills your child soaks up at summer camps like Learning Tree Schools.
How to Be Independent
Regardless of your child's age, if they are old enough to attend summer camp, they are old enough to begin developing a bit of independence. Most parents understand that handing over independence needs to be done on an age-appropriate level, so this can mean different things depending on the age of your child.
Kids need time away in order to develop the ability to make confident decisions without you present. Camp provides the ideal environment for them to stretch their wings a bit while still remaining under a watchful eye. Furthermore, little ones learn to make good decisions when you aren't present to guide them.
How to Make and Keep Friends
Summer camp provides kids the opportunity to make and be with friends almost constantly. Throughout their time at camp, kids learn how to be respectful, how to make friends when in a new environment, and how to navigate conflict to nurture their relationships with others.
When they arrive, camp counselors hold ice breaker activities to help children interact with one another, and this can be very helpful for a shy or reserved child. Furthermore, most camps structure activities that encourage children to think about helping others, encouraging outgoing children to reach out to those who may have difficulty with breaking the ice first.
If and when arguments or issues occur--and they will, as they do within any group of children--counselors will generally attempt to guide kids through working out the concerns between themselves. This helps to teach them healthy boundaries.
How to Disengage From Media Sources
Video games. Social media. The internet. Online gaming. Everywhere your child turns in today's world, there's another form of media waiting to tempt and distract them. While media sources can help children to learn and grow when used appropriately, they can also be overused. Too much technology has been linked to everything from depression to lower grades. For a child who uses any of these frequently, disengaging can be difficult. Often, they become bored easily or simply don't know how to entertain themselves without it.
This is where sending your child to summer camp helps. Most facilities have strict policies that severely limit or reduce the amount of time children are able to use devices. Kids are absorbed in activity almost all day, ensuring that they aren't left aimless once the device is shut down. If nothing else, they'll get a bit of separation for at least a few weeks--all while learning how to entertain themselves without it.
How to Have Fun and Be Responsible in Nature
It's a fact that children don't spend as much time in nature as they once did. Gone are the days of playing outside for eight hours at a time, running and frolicking through the woods. This distancing from nature isn't exclusive--some families do encourage outside play--but it is, unfortunately, all too common.
Some people believe that kids are so distanced from nature that it almost qualifies as a disorder. This term was originally coined by author Richard Louv, in his book, "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder." While the condition itself doesn't really exist, the benefits of getting more time in nature certainly do. Several studies have shown that living near or interacting with nature can boost health, helping young kids to live healthier, more active lives.
But that's not where the benefits of attending a countryside camp end.
Your child will also learn how to interact with the natural environment around them responsibly. For some kids, this is as simple as learning not to litter. For others, it's as much as learning the intricate ways in which every plant and animal around them help to balance the ecosystem. Both are valuable skills that children can put into practice all throughout their lives.
As a parent, it can be difficult to say goodbye to your child for an extended period of time. This is especially true if your child is going away to summer camp for the first time. As the above examples illustrate, your child stands to learn and grow from the experience in a way that can be truly incredible. Taking your time to choose the right camp for both you and your child will go a long way to reducing the stress of separation. For questions about whether attending camp is right for your child, contact your local facility today.