Being a parent through the ages and stages of childhood is demanding but also rewarding, especially when you see your child flourish. Remember to include "camp" on your best-choice list of places where that happens.
Here’s a quick guide to understand how kids at various ages grow and learn at March break and summer camps.
Your child age 4 to 6 is a sponge for information. For kids at this stage, camp offers early social experiences that he or she will not have available through any other means. Camp also exposes them to adult leaders other than parents.
Your child age 7 to 9 is developing their own interests and camp can help him or her explore these interests, though activities such as drama, computer & tech or specific sports. Camp also offers new opportunities to socialize and take on new challenges.
Your child age 10 to 12 is graduating into adolescence and is torn between being a kid and acting older. Camp offers these tweens/ preteens an outlet to be themselves among their peers. They also meet kids of different backgrounds and abilities; kids this age at camp start to learn tolerance of others.
Your child aged 13 to 15 is beginning to stretch his or her adolescent wings at an age many people find to be one of the most difficult or challenging phases in life. Kids this age are learning who they are, dealing with the attitudes of others and developing self-esteem. Camp offers these children an environment where they can start and foster friendships and can grow self esteem through mentoring those who are younger.
Your child aged 16 and up is developing a firm idea of who he or she is. Camp offers strong, older role models as well as the opportunity for he or she to act as one, to younger children. Teenagers at camp get time away from their parents, learn on their own and may have a chance to learn some appreciation for their parents, for city life and other things they may be taking for granted. They can also start to develop leadership skills as junior counselors or even as counselors.
Kids and teens that go to camp have proven to become leaders at their schools, in their teams and when they move on in their careers. Choose a great camp for your kids and give them a head start, but remember when choosing a camp, be realistic about your child's physical, intellectual and emotional development levels and his or her limitations. Every child develops at a different pace and in a unique way, but all can find a place in the sun at camp.