May 9, 2011
Overnight camps, vacation for Mom and Dad?
Last week we discussed the importance of finding special “couples” time and strengthening the backbone of the family for this year’s summer vacation. If you have kids however, you might be feeling a little guilty about going on a vacation and leaving the kids at home. There may be a solution – overnight camps.
There are a tremendous variety of camps available for overnight adventures that will entice and engage your child, tween and teen; as well as provide some quality alone time for Mom and Dad. I googled overnight camps in my area that were only a couple hours away and found a tremendous assortment; from horseback riding, cinematography, dance, waterskiing, theatre, and leadership or counselor in training camps for the older ones.
The biggest concern for many parents in selecting a camp is providing a good experience for their child and feeling comfortable that their child is in a safe and controlled environment. Of course, you do have the responsibility to confirm you are sending your child to an experienced, accredited camp. Check references and speak to parents who have previously sent their children.
There are some do’s and don’ts regarding selecting a camp for your child and avoiding the experience of homesickness. First and foremost, actively involve your child in choosing the camp they attend. Even if they do experience homesickness, they are more apt to be able to work through those emotions if they feel they have had ownership over the decision to attend camp in the first place.
Secondly, parents who take the time to talk about and listen to any potential fears the child may have about camp, really provide the emotional support the child needs to feel prior to their arrival at camp. A parent who says, “Oh, you shouldn’t worry about that—you’ll LOVE horseback riding!” is taking away the child’s personal ability to process, “I am nervous about riding horses….but if I try horseback riding, and I don’t like it, I don’t have to sign up for that activity anymore.”
Additionally, don’t impose your own fears on your child—YOU might be the one who is terrified of horses…but your own personal fears shouldn’t trump a child’s desire to try new things in a safe, controlled environment. And, in the end, if they miss home a little bit—they are learning to appreciate their family and friends that much more, too.
Once you have the kids enrolled in camp, take advantage of the peaceful and quiet alone time to be with your spouse. Forget work and the household chores and use this as an opportunity to spend quality “getting to know you again” time.