What’s there not to love about swimming, popsicles, and outdoor activities? A lot. For some. Camp represents freedom from school and an opportunity for long stretches of recreational activity, however for some kids, endless amounts of time outside and engaging in sports-like activities are far from ideal. Some kids do not enjoy camp. If you have a camper writing home about how much he loathes the camp experience, try these tips to encourage some fun.
Tips to Help Your Child Who Hates Camp:
- Have your child identify the positives about camp. Although there may be aspects that your child does not prefer about camp, catch him making these statements so he doesn’t maximize a few small parts and minimize the parts that aren’t so bad or that he does like. If the child likes art, air conditioning, and cook outs, help him identify times within his day or week that reflect those preferred tasks. This will help balance out his perspective.
- Identify preferred summer-time tasks. If the child loves to bike ride, go on trips to the zoo, or make s’mores, factor those activities into the summer schedule outside of camp time. Help the child recognize that camp isn’t preventing him from engaging in what he wants but that his needs can still be accommodated. Encourage your child to calmly communicate his needs and work together to problem solve ways to get his needs met, although it might not be in the moment desired.
- Incentivize participation. If your child does not like being outside or engaging in physical activity/team sports, set up a system to encourage compliance.
- Talk to your child. Before registering for a camp, find out what activities your child is interested in doing and what he would not like. If your child is more into the arts, consider a program for theater, crafts, and dance. If your child prefers physical activity, opt for a sports camp. Touching base about preferences can facilitate open communication of needs and an opportunity to avoid potential problems.