How to Choose a Summer Camp for You and Your Child

Summer camps can meet the needs of every child, regardless of his or her strengths and weaknesses. Is your child shy, making it hard for them to make friends? Does your child express interest in learning a new skill or talent, and you don’t know how to help them? Is your child at-risk for self-destructive behavior? Or, do you simply want time for yourself for a few weeks during the summer?

Regardless of what your needs are, it is simple to find a summer camp that will enrich your child, as well as provide them with lasting memories and friends. Camps help children and teens build self-esteem, confidence, skill planning, and will often promote exercise and good dietary habits.

If you are unsure of how your child may react to a extended stay away from home, you may opt for a simple day camp, which will provide you with a sense of well-being, knowing that your child is close to home, and your child will feel comfortable knowing that they can enjoy themselves, and still go home at the end of the day. This type of summer camp is also beneficial for younger campers, who are uncomfortable being away from home, or who have problems during the night, such as bed-wetting, or nightmares. A day camp will also prepare your child for overnight camps, sleepovers, school trips, and eventually, college, where they may spend weeks or months away from home. Day camps are also a good choice for families who cannot afford to send a child away to a lengthy summer camp. However, always check with the summer camps you are interested in, as many have scholarships available for low-income families, and you may be eligible.

If you choose to send your child to an overnight camp, you have many options available, which can easily become overwhelming. Talk with your children about what skills or talents they are interested in. Do they excel in English or writing? Send them to a summer camp that helps develop their writing skills, or to a creative writing camp. Does your child need to work on a particular subject? Are their grades slipping in science? Often, a hands-on approach will inspire your child to enjoy subjects they previously disliked. A nature camp or 4-H camp may suit you and your child’s needs by creating a fun environment where they can obtain knowledge without sitting in a classroom.

If your child is confident, and enjoys the spotlight, a summer camp that highlights these abilities may help your child excel in school plays, or concerts. There are many performing arts summer camps for every age and skill level. Children can learn to act, sing or dance, and can even learn to play musical instruments or create their very own artwork. With many schools cutting arts programs, a summer camp that provides these opportunities may give your child an educational boost that others may not have.

Sending your child to a summer camp will help them grow as a person, as well as create fond memories, lasting friendships and a passion for learning. By asking yourself and your child what may benefit them the most, you can create a summer that your child will thank you for, for years to come.

– Robin Weimer

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