No, it is not bad parenting to send your child away to overnight camp. In these summer months, it is all too easy for children to languish in front of the television set and become inactive. Not to mention that it is never too early for a child to learn to be self-reliant, and that is exactly what going away to overnight camp will teach her.
Overnight camps accept children as young as seven, but most parents won’t send their child to summer camp because they don’t believe she will be able to survive away from home. Another reason is that parents don’t want to be separated from their child for a long period of time. However, a parent’s discomfort should not be an excuse for denying a child the great experiences an overnight camp can give her.
To ease the emotional stress and tension both parents and child are sure to feel about overnight camp, they should have a discussion about the benefits an overnight camp can provide and decide together on a program that is sure to offer her worthwhile experiences.
So what are the benefits a good overnight summer summer camp can provide a child?
Independence: It may be hard to believe that a child as young as seven could be looking for space from her parents, but children hate being told what to do as much as adults do. While she will have a camp counselor to answer to, for the most part she will have to learn to dress herself, bathe herself, make her own bed, and brush her own teeth. Overnight camp will teach her that someone is not always going to be around to tell her what to do, which is a lot easier than yelling at her to do something.
Community: In order to make friends she has to learn to be outgoing. She will not just be seeing other children for a brief play date; she will have to learn to live with other children and work in a team with them for various activities. The great thing about living with other children over the summer is that she will learn to like and do things that other children already do. While it is often impossible for parents to get their child to eat foods other than chicken nuggets, if she sees that her friends are eating a more well-balanced diet then she will want to do the same.
New Skills: She will be able to learn a new sport, a new game, how to camp, canoe, pretty much whatever she wants. She will have limitless choices to make and will learn skills she can carry with her through life.
Live away from the comforts of home: She will hardly have time to be homesick. With all the activities she will be partaking in she won’t have time to realize she misses home, and at night she will be too tired to notice she’s falling into a bed that is not her own. Most camps also forbid campers from bringing any electronic devices with them, which will allow her to discover other hobbies and experience new things without the distractions of the internet and smartphones.
Appreciation: Finally, time away from parents and home will bring her to appreciate them more. There is nothing like being away from home and family for a length of time to realize you should never take them for granted.