Some kids will tell their parents when they are ready for sleepaway camps. Others have to be nudged in that direction. On the flip side of things, parents may be ready to get their kids out of the house or be terrified of the idea. In fact, there is usually some combination of these reactions.
These reactions are all completely normal and should be discussed prior to any decisions.
Regardless, there are plenty of benefits to sleepover camps, many of which might make you want to attend your own camp. Kids and teens aren’t the only ones who will see positive things though. Parents can reap some incredible rewards, right from their comfy couch.
Keep reading for how sleepaway camps can benefit kids, parents, and even the relationships between them!
Even if you’re not a helicopter parent, chances are, you still do a lot for your children. This is somewhat expected and is a show of affection. The thought of sending your little one (or teenager) to camp for a week or more could be scary.
You might think your child won’t know how to handle themselves or you’re picturing worst case scenarios. Truth is, they’ll go wild the first day, then simmer down and the camp staff is fully trained in emergency situations.
Here are a few things that will probably happen while they’re away:
- You will learn to trust your kids’ abilities. Actually, being capable is a mark of great parenting (you did your job!) They will be supervised–but things, like bathing properly, wearing sunscreen, and keeping track of their items, will be left to them.
- You WILL get kid-sick. Almost every camper will experience being homesick and that same feeling will happen to you. It’s not fun, but you’ll have a better understanding of what they’re going through. You’ll also develop coping mechanisms while your munchkins are away.
- Summer can be a hard season for parents, especially when there is a need to control or supervise everything. In a camp setting, you might see digital photos but don’t have a say in what they eat for supper or what time they go to bed.
- FREEDOM! For a little while at least. Parents are free to work or play when they want and how they want. This might be a perfect time for a romantic getaway or date night.
When you think back to your youth, you may fondly remember going to an overnight camp. If you didn’t attend any camps, it’s probable that you always had the desire to.
As a cautious parent, you have every right to ensure an overnight summer camp will be safe and beneficial to your children. You might be thinking that kids will run wild and have possible concerns over supervision, safety, and their overall well-being.
There shouldn’t be a concern about whether or not your child will have fun. Sleepaway camp is almost ALWAYS fun! Campers have a host of activities to choose from–some ordinary, some outrageous!
Kids that seem shy at school also have the chance to really come out of their shell. In a sense, they can almost re-invent themselves to be whoever they want. This confidence can last the rest of the summer, school year, or a lifetime.
Some summer camps offer activities like archery, swimming, pottery, and survival. No matter the selection, there’s probably one or two that your kid hasn’t tried out yet. They might just come home with a new hobby or skill!
Think back to your overnight camp adventures… do you remember some of your bunkmates? Even if you don’t, you can probably recall a few funny stories with them.
Luckily with today’s technology, keeping in touch is much easier and campers can walk away from a summer camp with friends they’ll keep forever.
The last HUGE benefit of sleep-away camps is the canteen. This might sound crazy, but giving your camper enough money to last them through the duration will make them learn self-control! Sure you can add money, but this is a subtle lesson in budgeting.
Time Away Can be Mutually Beneficial
Sleepaway camp can be beneficial all the way around. In many parent-child relationships, growth occurs on both ends. This experience may also may your relationship with your child easier in many ways:
- Self-sufficiency: Kids will learn to make wise choices or face annoying consequences. This could be as simple as forgetting to put bug spray on before a campfire–the camper will learn a lesson and remember next time. A self-sufficient kid makes for easier parenting.
- Forbidding electronics teaches kids how to appreciate nature and entertain themselves. This is great if your family enjoys camping or faces power outages due to weather.
- The best lessons can be learned from your kids. While at sleepover camp, your child may run across others that are different from them. They might have a disability, or simply look different. Camp teaches kids to accept and appreciate these variations in fellow campers, leading to less bullying and even teaching parents a thing or two.
- Camp builds character. Both children and parents have to learn how to cope with being away from each other and learn to accept growth from both parties.
The Verdict on Sleepaway Camps
The old adage, “distance makes the heart grow fonder” should be kept in the back of your mind when choosing if sleepaway camps are the right choice. Every parent, child, and family is different and may handle separation in varying ways.
Overall, the evidence supports sleepover camps. The psychological benefits far outweigh any negative issues. Usually, the biggest problem faced (homesickness) is resolved in a few days.
No one is saying that you won’t miss your child or that your camper won’t cry to come home the first night. However, given a chance, attending a camp will build confidence all around.
Hopefully, your family makes a decision in favor of going to camp. It’ll be beneficial for kids and parents alike. In preparation for this new and exciting adventure, check out our blog on coping with homesickness!