Friday, February 24, 2012

Kids on Camp: 5 Reasons Why Summer Camps Are Good for Your Kids

School holidays, don’t even mention them. They go on far too long, for the parents at least. They were never that long ‘in our day’ were they? So what do we do when it comes to school holidays? Do we beg friends and family, do we use all of our meagre holiday allowance just for the privilege of being on the receiving end of a litany of complaints about boredom?

Have you considered an adventure camp? You stay home and continue with your daily routine while the kids go and out and live it up at a supervised camp?

Not sure? Scared they might be OK without you? Worrying, isn’t it? Here are five reasons why allowing your children some time without you is good for everyone.

They’ll learn about risk-taking

If you’re the sort of parent that still tries to hold your son’s hand to the school gate when he’s 16, then listen up, that’s no good for him! Little Johnny - or Jemima – isn’t so little any more. They need to come out from under your wing. That doesn’t mean that they don’t need you but you have to let them do things without you being there.

What could be better than learning about risk taking in a supervised environment? White water rafting, rock climbing, abseiling (it’s fine, you aren’t there so you won’t have to cover your eyes), canyoning (no I’m not sure either. I suggest you don’t look it up), rope courses, glacier skiing – (ditto for abseiling) - the list is endless. It all takes place in the presence of experienced staff, not screaming parents.

It gets them away from the TV/computer/whatever their latest favourite gadget is

Are your offspring pale-faced from self-imposed isolation conversing with the people who live in their computer? Does their social life consist of battering online opponents down to a pulp on a virtual battlefield? Do they understand what a proper conversation is?

Once you’ve explained what ‘outside’ is to them, you allow them to experience a whole new phenomenon. Fresh air! What’s more, it’ll be a whole lot fresher out in the mountain terrain of somewhere like the French Alps.

Fresh air and nature!! What a novel combination.

They learn new skills

Their confidence and sense of self-esteem will soar as they find they’re actually quite good at rock climbing and trekking…OK, OK, swimming and golf if you insist. Until you’ve left them to it of course! And depending on the time of year, they may even learn what that white stuff is on top of the mountains. We call it snow.

They make lots of new friends

Be warned, they may not actually be that enthused at the prospect of coming home. Back to an overfussy, mainly embarrassing pair of parents or hanging out like the cool kid on the block with a new set of pals? Put yourself in their walking boots. What would you do?!

And yes, it’s true, you are an embarrassing parent. It’s a rite of passage. It’s OK, it happens to the best of us.

You get some rest!

Relax! Discover what your life is like without a pile of washing, acting as an unpaid taxi service and dealing with sullen sulks. Enjoy a well earned respite, it’s only temporary so make the most of it. (Warning: If you’re a married/cohabiting female, this part won’t change while your children are living it up on their hols but then you knew that, didn’t you?).

See, there’s nothing to worry about. Allow your children out of your sight for a few weeks on a summer camp this year. You’ll all benefit from the break but be prepared, they may have changed colour while they’re away. It’s called a sun tan.

Biog: Sue Patterson is looking forward to planning this year’s adventure camp for the children of Green Watch, Lincoln

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