With the child being the center of any parents’ universe; you often hear them asking, “Should I send my kid to sleepaway camp?” The dilemma is understandable as most parents want the best for their kids and tend to worry whether the move would be right for their kids or not. Many are not fully aware of the dynamics of a sleepaway camp.
Given the unawareness and parental fears, here we walk you through insight into what exactly is a sleepaway camp, is it really good for your kid, etc. We take to clarifying plenty of myths and doubts surrounding it so that you can make the best decision for your kid. Stay hooked!
What is the Sleepaway Summer Camp?
Foremost, let us understand what exactly is a sleepaway summer camp. Unlike a day camp where the child goes out of his/her house in the morning and returns back home; a sleepaway camp is a supervised program for kids in which they stay from their homes and parents in a carefully chosen outdoor environment. Here children are exposed to a plethora of specialized activities and sports along with nurturing their ability to adjust and stay together with fellow kids.
This extended stay away from parents and home is done under the careful and microscopical care of the camp organizer and its associates.
Should I Send My Kid to Sleepaway Camps?
It is a burning question in every doting and responsible parent’s mind. The most concerning factor are that the kid would not return home for at least a night or two or three nights at a stretch. It leaves parents wondering whether camps would be good for their kids. The concern rises notches higher when it becomes a curriculum requirement and parents feel like the choice being snatched out of their hands.
Benefits of Sleepaway Camp
We slay here, all fears and myths surrounding the question, ‘Should I send my kid to sleepaway camp?’ Shouting a resounding ‘Yes’, we list out a few of the major benefits of a sleepaway camp. Read on:
1. Helps the kids become independent
It is tough for most parents not to fuss over their children and do most chores for them. But in a camp, a child learns to manage himself and his belongings all by himself. Be it any work at any point of the trip, the child is working on his/her own albeit under adult supervision. But the experience goes a long way in making the child independent and self-reliant.
2. Kids build resilience
With no parents in the vicinity to smoothen things over; a kid needs to struggle all by oneself in managing himself and in trying out new things. The chances of failure are quite high initially. But the child learns to adjust to failure and retry to achieve success. The whole experience goes a long way in making the child more resilient.
3. Children develop self-esteem and confidence
The experience of a sleepover camp is often like a roller-coaster ride for any kid. They experience all kinds of experiences and emotions during the camping experience. Tasting both success and failure, adapting to new people and new circumstances, trying out new activities, etc. enriches a child both physically and mentally. Consequently, the self-esteem and self-confidence of the child go notches higher.
4. Kids can reinvent themselves
A camp is altogether a new experience and environment for any kid. Consequently, it offers plenty of stimulus and opportunity for any kid to behave and act out of his/her usual persona and activities. A shy child might suddenly start interacting with peers or manifesting an inborn talent and skill towards a particular task or activity like playing games, archery, art and craft, pottery, etc. This goes a long way in the child discovering sides of him/her that they did not know existed. It helps them to better carve out their personality.
5. Children discover their special interests
From specialized to jack-of-all-trades, summer camps cater to almost all interests you can think of. It could be sports, science, horse riding, oceanography, computer programming, and many more. A child gets exposed to several activities and might start showing affinity towards a particular one. You thus, start realizing a child’s potential and talent and nurture it in the right way to make your child and better, skilled adult.
6. Children make friends and hone their social skills
Most likely, a child is expected to share his tent or cabin with one or two kids of his age. This allows a child to bond with his tent partners in a unique way. They also get a chance to interact with almost all kids at the camp.
This not only helps them to forge bonds with others but also learn many social skills. Living in a group away from home helps them develop manners and patience from simple tasks like sharing a room, waiting for their turn to pick up food, eating in the right manner, apologizing, and saying thank you, etc. Moreover, all these skills are picked most naturally.
7. Children develop new skills
Being exposed to a plethora of activities in a camp, the child tries various activities and develops new skills regardless of whether a special talent is present or not. It adds a rich layer of dimension and depth to his personality and makes him a better human being.
8. Kids learn to respect and appreciate differences
In a camp, children from various cultural and religious backgrounds assemble. Here, a child learns to adjust and live with kids who are not of the same background. Each learns from the other. Hence, without shouting out any morals or principals; you find them accepting and respecting the differences and even learning the best ideas and values from each other. It helps the child grow into a more balanced adult.
9. Children become more responsible
As a parent, it is understandable that you always perceive the child as being too small to do anything. Hence you do all his works under the wrap of mothering or parenting. But such is not the case in a camp.
The child learns to fend for himself as well as take care of all his belongings. They are also trained to be mindful of not treading on their peer’s feet like encroaching on their share of the tent, not taking their belongings, etc. The entire experience makes any kid more responsible for their own and others.
10. Caring about community and nature
In any sleepaway camp, a child finds oneself in a unique community. It not only gives him a unique sense of belonging but also hones their skills of facing challenges of such a living, improve their caring and cooperative nature, and grow into a more caring citizen.
11. Children get a digital detox and appreciate nature better
The benefits of technology cannot be overstated but we cannot shy away from its harmful and addictive effects either. Keeping a child away from the TV, cartoons, mobile games, etc. might be almost impossible in the home surroundings but is achieved naturally in a sleepaway camp.
Moreover, the child finds himself amidst nature, and with plenty of new experiences; a child learns to appreciate and respect nature like never before. He also learns the skill of distancing himself from digital gadgets in the easiest manner possible.
12. A new child comes home
Any child experiences a tornado of physical, mental, social, and psychological changes in a sleepaway camp. Naturally, it would impact every aspect of his personality and change him from his core.
Once your kid returns from an overnight camp and manifests the tremendous transformation that he/she has gone; chances are you would be left stumped with all kinds of mixed emotions. Be prepared for it!
13. Parental concerns
As a parent, all benefits pale in front of the fears and concerns that run berserk in their minds. Hence, we allay a few of those fears here.
- You might think that your child will be unsafe. But they are constantly supervised by the organizers and are utterly safe.
- Foremost, you may not have a good influence on your child in your home or your neighborhood. Sending the child on a sleepaway camp can help you keep your child away from any bad influences if present.
- If stress or a tense atmosphere is brewing at your home; sending the child to a sleepaway camp would have a positive effect on the kid and help him grow into a more stable and well-balanced human being.
The above arguments have made it evident that you barely lose anything but stand to gain everything by sending your child to a sleepaway camp.
Few Common Frequently Asked Questions Answered
Now that we have most of our fears appeased, let’s answer a few of the most common queries that arise in the mind of any caring parent.
What is the best age for sleepaway camp?
Technically speaking, you can never state the right age to send any child to a sleepover camp. The general age seen is often nine or ten years though today six and seven years are also seen camping. The biggest issue faced by a child is the anxiety of separation from parents. Hence, you are advised to gauge the mental readiness of the child before deciding to send him to such a camp.
Why kids should go to sleepaway camp?
The benefits highlighted above clearly illustrate that a summer overnight camp helps to bring about an all-round development of the children and benefits them in several ways. Hence, any parent should never deprive the child of such a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.
How do I prepare my child for a sleepaway camp?
Going for a sleepaway camp is both exciting and dreadful for both the child and the parents. You can help your child prepare mentally by a few tips like:
- Discuss your child’s feelings with them. This would help you understand their perception and the fear of the unknown. It would also help you reassure them in the best possible manner.
- You can share your own camping stories with your child. It would help the child connect with the experience and look forward to any camp.
- Going camping involves preparing. Getting your child involved will keep him upbeat and more confident. It would also ebb away most fears that might be running through their mind.
- Lastly and perhaps the most important point is to remain positive and fill your child with positive aspirations. We often let our fears dominate us and envision all kinds of negative events. Instead, they should be filled with positive ones and the same should be passed to the child.
Is my child ready for overnight camp?
No two kids are the same. It’s you only who can gauge and decide if your child is ready for an overnight camp. However, most children give you a few tell-tale signs showing their readiness for a sleepover camp like:
- They can take care of their personal hygiene like brushing their teeth, taking bath, independent toilets, etc.
- They have heard about sleepover camps in school and are pushing you to let them experience one.
- Your child has had previous sleepovers experience like sleeping at a friend’s house. Else, they might be used to spending time babysitters and remain relaxed without you.
- Your child does not panic at new situations and naturally adapts to them. Additionally, they are always looking forward to trying and learning new things.
- Your child completely understands what a sleepover camp implies and is open to its idea.
With these signs, you can easily ascertain the preparedness level of your child.
What should I pack for a sleepaway camp?
Most of the time, the camp organizers provide you with a list of items to be packed that makes your life easy. Generally, you need to pack enough clothing with at least one or two spare sets, all required toiletries like soap, shampoo, toothbrush, paste, etc.; swimsuit if swimming option is there, a jacket for cold nights, few snacks that your child loves, a water bottle and any other specific items that are requested for that particular camp.
How long do summer camps usually last?
Summer camps can be as short as an overnight camp, a week-long camp, or even a camp spanning to eight to ten weeks. It all depends on the age group and the type of summer camp chosen.
Now that we have come to the end of the writeup, we hope to have appeased all your doubts and concerns regarding, “Should I send my kid to sleepaway camp?” We hope you and your child get better prepared for the exciting experience of a sleepaway camp.
Do shout out to us with your comments, queries, or suggestions. We look forward to interacting with you and helping you arrange the first sleepaway camp for your child!