By Katie Faulkner
More than a mainstay of the childhood experience, summer camp offers a myriad of mental, emotional, and physical benefits for your child. Not only that, but it can be rewarding for parents too! Read on to see how summer camp will contribute to your child’s health and development.
Mental Health Benefits for Your Child:
Without parents nearby to ask their questions to, and in an environment that is largely peer-based, your child will be forced to learn ways to solve their own problems and answer their own questions.
Developing social skills
Since they’ll have to rely on others to help find solutions, they’ll learn how to interact with peers in a variety of scenarios.
Decompressing from stress
Through immersion in nature and activities that require “unplugging” from television, computers, tablets, video games, and smartphones, they can begin to decompress. The stress-related hormones are proven to subside in nature and away from technology.
Boosting confidence and building resiliency
As they find success developing independence and social skills, they will inevitably gain confidence and self-respect. This time of personal development also builds their resiliency to face more tasks and tackle more problems on their own, even after camp.
Creating connections and great memories
All humans benefit from healthy relationships and bonds. Why not start your children early in hopes that more intense bonding opportunities can result in more chances for long-term friendships? Plus, every child deserves a few great stories from summer camp!
Diversifying their interests
Camps are so varied. Some are specified to certain skillsets or programs (swim camp, horseback riding, etc.), while others are more general. No matter the camp’s focus, taking time to learn new skills with new people instills a sense of adventure and inspires creativity. This is a perfect opportunity to expand your child’s interests.
Physical Health Benefits for Your Child:
Gets them active
Being outside, or even simply having day after day of activities planned, increases your child’s physical activity. Rather than a sedentary summer in front of the television, your kids will be running, hiking, swimming, canoeing, playing sports, riding horses, and enjoying all sorts of other exercises.
Gets them away from screens
Screen time is becoming an ever-increasing concern for the health of our youth – sending them to camp not only gets them away from the screens, but also gives them alternative activities, helping to reduce their craving for screen time. Studies show that less screen time and more active lifestyles can improve your child’s sleep, lead to lower body mass index, and even improve grades.
Gets them in nature
Being outdoors offers a myriad of physical health benefits for children, including boosting their energy, alleviating pain, strengthening their immune system, restoring their focus, and even improving their vision. The time in nature also reduces stress, which is a leading cause of numerous physical ailments.
Perks for Parents:
Time to decompress
A little downtime and fewer items on the trusty to-do list never hurt anyone. This is a great time to relax. Use your evenings to unwind, think through any lingering issues, tidy up the house, or get in a good, uninterrupted workout.
Time to devote to your relationship and other goals
Without having to focus on the children each evening, or work around their extracurricular activity schedules, you have more time to spend with your partner, with your friends, or on your own. Take this time to have a nice grown-up date night, a quality girls’ weekend, or tackle that home project that’s been on your list. You can spend time on hobbies and reconnect with your other important relationships knowing that your child is safe and likely having a great time!
Increased connection upon your child’s return
When your child returns home after camp, the benefits continue. They can share their stories and experiences with you, show you things they learned, and you may even develop new activities to share. Let their emotional and physical growth contribute to the strength of your bond and quality time together. Plus, it’s easy to capitalize on the old adage, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”!
These are just a few of the many health benefits that your child (and you!) can enjoy from your child’s trip to summer camp. Find the right fit for them and take the day, week, month, or summer to congratulate yourself on a stellar parenting decision! HS