Although March may seem early to be thinking of summer camps, the brief months of summer will be here before you know it. Summer means many parents are now faced with the daunting task of keeping their kids responsibly looked after and entertained. While many turn to babysitters and family for parental supervision, summer camps are another great choice, due to the wide variety of options available.
According to the website all4kids.org, here are the top reasons summer camps seem to trump other childcare options:
Socializing and Friendship Building
One of the benefits of summer camp for youth is that they get to socialize and meet new people. During summer break, children often find it difficult to form or maintain friendships with peers their own age. Not only do children develop important life skills through socializing, such as sharing, setting boundaries and problem-solving, they also are learning how to develop strong, healthy relationships through interacting with their peers. A summer camp program provides a safe environment for them to develop social skills, decision-making skills and maybe even experience the great outdoors. In fact, socialization during childhood may accomplish more for growth and development than reading or eating vegetables! A fun environment like summer camp is a fantastic way to encourage this in your own children, from early childhood into adolescence.
Most summer camps focus on a theme or incorporate aspects of learning, exploring, character building and personal growth. If you are looking for fun summer activities for your children, there are many different types of camps to consider, such as sports camp, cooking camps, art camps, science camps and many more. You can be certain that your child will not only be entertained, but also educated and challenged, as well. While they are having fun and exploring their own interests, they are also increasing their own capacities for learning, teamwork, problem solving, knowledge and self-awareness. In fact, studies have shown that, of families who send their kids to summer camp, 70 percent of parents report that their child gained self-confidence while at camp. A strong sense of self is so important, and this is only one of the many ways that attending summer camp can positively impact your son or daughter. Learning about themselves and the world outside of the traditional classroom environment can do wonders for their growth and development.
Limits Screen Time and Encourages Exercise
In a world full of technology, sedentary-related conditions are on the rise. In fact, physical inactivity is currently the leading cause of disease in the US, and it all starts in childhood. According to the World Health Organization, sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety – which, for the most part, are entirely preventable. While some extra creativity to get your children active and limit screen time at home during the summer is often required, summer camp is a perfect solution. Most of these programs are situated in the great outdoors and offer a number of physical activities for the children to partake in. Not only will they get out of the house and have some fun, but they are sure to get some solid exercise in, as well – from activities such as hiking, archery, horseback riding, swimming, zip-lining and team sports. Allowing your children to explore the outdoors and interact with a diverse group of peers is an excellent way to broaden their perspective and have a variety of experiences for their summer break.
Positive Role Models
Another benefit of summer camp is that it provides your child with the opportunity to interact with positive adult role models. Typically, camp counselors are younger adults who are choosing to volunteer or working part-time over their own summer break from college. Not only are these counselors energetic, but kids see them as “cool” and often a little more relatable than their own parents. This can be a tremendous asset in the lives of your children. Building these role model relationships can help kids to develop the confidence, self-esteem and skills they need to be successful in school and in life. Overall, the more healthy, positive adult relationships that a child or youth has in their life, the more likely they are to thrive in all areas, long after summer camp has ended.
Unfortunately, children today are missing out on some of the simplicity of life before the technological era. While times have certainly changed and there is tremendous value in that, there is nothing quite like preserving those simple, unplugged, childhood memories. Aside from gaining decision-making skills, leadership skills and social skills at a summer program, they also get plenty of physical activity! Yes, your child may miss their phone, tablet or gaming system at first, but once they start exploring, interacting with their peers, engaging in a variety of activities and having new adventures, they are sure to leave summer camp with stories, photographs, friendships, life lessons and memories that will last a lifetime.
At the End of the Day
As parents, we want the best opportunities for our children. Having healthy, happy, well-adjusted children translates to successful and content adults. Children need guidance and life skills to achieve their goals. Important skills acquired at summer camp, such as self-reliance, socialization, independence and physical activity, will benefit them long after their summer camp days are over. Your children will return from camp with more self-confidence and a stronger sense of identity. They will have developed valuable skills, made new friends and created memories to last a lifetime. So, if you are on the fence about summer camp for your child or children, it’s time to come down, get the family together and pick a camp!