Sleep-Away Camps

Let Go To Help Kids Grow

If you’d like your kids to develop maturity and gain independence (and if you’d like to begin learning to let go yourself ), it’s time to research sleep-away camps. Week- or month-long trips away from home give kids opportunities to experience unique adventures.

Time away from parents helps kids learn how to make their own decisions without checking with Mom or Dad first, and residential camp provides the perfect training ground, says Michael Thompson in his book, Homesick and Happy: How Time Away From Parents Can Help a Child Grow.

Need more convincing? Here are a few thoughts to consider.

Camp builds maturity and allows children the chance to make their own decisions in a safe, caring environment.

Kids benefit from new relationships with camp counselors who care about them and help them with everyday struggles.

Camp forces kids to unplug from technology and enjoy the beauty and benefits of nature.

Through outside activities, kids find new hobbies without academic pressure or expectations. Kids gain self-confidence when they try new things and discover talents they didn’t know they had.

Camp teaches good sportsman- ship by encouraging each child to be fair and kind.

Team activities teach kids how to cooperate and sup- port one another.

Camp fosters new friendships with kids who come from varying backgrounds.

The diversity at camp helps kids gain an understanding of how
others live outside their community. In a relaxed atmosphere, kids can more easily make friends while they play, sing, work, eat and bunk together.

Camp creates lifelong memories of adventures in new places.

Camp offers carefree days where kids can learn how to thrive outside the structure of the over-scheduled days they may have at home.

Separation anxiety

When it comes to sending a child to sleep-away camp, plenty of parents say, “Well, she’s ready for camp, but I’m not ready for her to leave!” Parents may feel some form of anxiety, sadness and nervousness or obsessive preoccupation with thoughts of their child.

“Parents today are more anxious than their peers were 20 and 30 years
ago,” says Peg Smith, CEO of the American Camp Association. “That said, the partnerships between parents and camp directors have increased. Parents should share their concerns with camp directors who are prepared to respond with responsible, informed answers.”

Gayla Grace is a writer and mom to five who sends her kids to away camps every summer. 

Tips for Surviving Sleep-Away Camp
* Let your child have trial runs being away from you by permitting sleepovers.
* Don’t show anxiety to your child because it will make it harder on him.
* Have a plan for yourself. Get a project done that you’ve never had time for, or go on a trip with your spouse.
* Remember: two of the greatest gifts you can give your child are confidence and independence.