5 Reasons to Send your Child to Sleepaway Camps

Summer camp can be one of the most formative experiences of a child’s life. It’s a special place, separate from school or home, which allows children to have a unique experience that gives meaning to their summers and creates irreplaceable memories.

A pediatric psychologist helped us outline five important reasons to send your children to sleepaway camps. If you are debating whether you should send your child to a summer overnight camp and how to choose the right one, this article is perfect for you.

1. Building social skills outside of the classroom

Although every parent hopes their child can achieve perfect development from school alone, often that isn’t the case. An alternate social sphere, like an overnight summer camp, can allow children to redo challenging moments and learn about socializing in a less strict atmosphere.

“As children and teens grow up, they’re tasked with developing social skills and maintaining positive relationships,” says Dr. Sabrina Stutz, a pediatric psychologist at CHOC. “Schooltime may not be able to fully address these needs since so much time is focused on academic and life skills.”

2. A positivity-based culture

The outside world is full of negative influences. Most overnight summer camps make it a priority to base their culture on positivity and make every child feel centered. It’s less focused on a winner-take-all mentality and more on helping everyone grow at their own pace. You can send your child to this fun destination without much concern for safety measures, as it is supervised and child-oriented, unlike much of the rest of the world.

3. Exposure to a diversity of experience

Whether or not your hometown is a mixed salad or a melting pot, kids will begin to become used to the people they’re surrounded with. Throwing in a bunch of new faces and perspectives every year at an overnight summer camp helps them understand just how big the world is and how many diverse people and perspectives there are.

“At camp, children are exposed to others who may be similar or different to them, which can be a jarring and initially uncomfortable experience,” Stutz says. “By sticking with it and developing new relationships, children are required to test-drive their social skills and adapt, thus building social competence and social comfort.”

4. Consider choosing specialty summer sleepaway camps

Tons of interests are too niche to be represented in school curriculums. If your child is particularly passionate about a school subject, going to a special interest camp can be a way to support that interest and help them see if they want it to be involved in their future. The sky is truly the limit! Horseback riding, science, art, outdoor education, you name it, you can find a camp for it.

“Meeting other youth with similar drives and abilities can help to push a child who may be used to being at the top of their class or help them develop new levels of mastery they may not have thought they could reach,” Stutz says.

5. For some kids, a special needs camp is the right move

What is a special needs camp, and how is it different from a specialty camp? Special needs camps focus on diverse traits that may affect your child’s ability to live a normal life and place them with others who experience that same difficulty, creating an irreplaceable environment of community and support. These sleepaway summer camps come into play for children with chronic illnesses, autism, learning differences, and more.

“Many families have told me that their experiences at these special needs camps were life-changing, and that they found lifelong friendships,” Stutz says.

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