Sleepaway camp is a big step for many kids as
they grow and learn to become more independent. For parents and kids alike, it
can be difficult to decide the right time to take the plunge and start
attending a residential camp. While you may feel apprehensive about sending
your child to overnight summer camp for the first time, you might be surprised
by the positive transformation you’ll see at the end of the camp session.
Not only does overnight camp provide kids with
the opportunity to make lifelong friendships and life-changing memories,
studies show that overnight camp also improves overall happiness in many
children and can help kids learn how to navigate social situations later in
// The Pros //
Many veterans of overnight camps say that during
their camp career, they made friends that they still keep in touch with many
years later. At sleepaway camp, kids engage in social interaction that they
would not otherwise be exposed to. For many, those late-night chats just before
lights out, or cheering on a fellow camper in a new activity or experience are
the moments that make overnight camp truly unique. For some kids, overnight
camp might be their first chance to sleep away from home, to make decisions
independent from their parents, and to navigate a day filled with their own
choices.It can be a good first step to
establishing self-esteem, self-confidence, and independence.
If you’re wondering how to help your child make
friends, putting them in an environment that encourages teamwork and trust is essential.
At Pali, we offer over 20 different specialties which means that your child
will spend time with kids who have similar interests.
Sleepaway camp can also help to instill a sense
of cooperation, empathy, responsibility, and respect as kids learn to live
together and find common ground that unites instead of differences that
How to Unplug
Many sleepaway camps have a no-cellphone or no-technology
policy. Taking time to step away from the screen can help kids practice
mindfulness and feel more present. At Pali Adventures, we have a strict no-cellphone policy,
which you can read more about on our website.
Pali Adventures participated in a UCLA study
that explored the benefits of unplugging while away at camp. Results of the
study showed increased social awareness after only 5 days of being “unplugged”.
You can read more about our participation and the results of the study here.
Can Establish Independence
For many families, the parents have a harder
time saying goodbye than the kids. For many campers, overnight camp is an
important step in learning to think independently in an environment separate
from parents, school, and home friends.
Sleepaway camp is a great opportunity to teach
kids how to make independent choices and decisions while in a safe and
controlled environment. When children arrive back from summer camp they may
take a more proactive role in helping out around the house, cooking their
meals, or keeping their bedroom clean. Overnight camp can help to nurture a
sense of confidence that would otherwise take longer to develop.
// The Cons //
Some campers may be likely to experience a mild
case of homesickness. Camp staff are trained to work with campers to assure
they feel safe, are fully engaged in activities, and any pangs of homesickness
are addressed with empathy and support. It is important for parents to be
supportive of their child’s overnight camp experience – focusing on all of the
positive aspects and not dwelling on verbalizing that they will be missed or
what they will miss out on at home.
Check out our staff’s advice on what to do if
your child experiences homesickness
while at sleepaway camp.
Is Your Child Not Quite Ready for
some youngsters (often around the age of eight), sleepaway camp may sound like
a good idea when you have casual conversations about it. But when faced with
the prospect of actually heading off to camp for an entire week, you may
discover that your child isn’t quite ready. The combination of their young age
and maturity level could make camp a scary thing.
away from home can be a challenging experience for young kids, but at Pali
Adventures, our highly trained camp counselors know what to look out for when
it comes to kids who have fears about sleepaway camp. Our counselors are extra
sensitive to the needs of children in this age group and take extra care to
ensure they feel at home while being away. As a rule, kids in this age group
are always bunked with their peers, who in many cases share similar
reservations about sleepaway camp.
feel that your child is right on the verge of being ready for sleepaway camp,
the best thing you can do to help prepare them is to be as transparent as
possible about what to expect. Sit down and make going through the enrollment
package a fun and safe experience for them, giving plenty of reasons to see the
exciting experience they have to look forward to, rather than focusing on being
away from home for a week.
all, let them know that camp counselors know exactly what they’re going
through, and are on hand through the whole camp experience, ready to provide
them with support and encouragement whenever they need it.
Sleepaway Camp Is a Personal Decision
At the end of the day, it’s up to your family to
decide the best time to attend sleepaway camp.Every child has different needs, and every child will benefit from
overnight camp in a different way.
Talk to your child about whether or not they are
interested in trying out sleepaway camp. Keep in mind that it can help to quell
nerves by visiting the camp ahead of time, where you can meet any available
staff members so that your child has a better idea of what to expect.
For more for information on preparing for
sleepaway camp and what you can expect, read the Pali blog.