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A brief reference guide if you are hesitant to enroll your children in camp

It will already be the second summer when five-year-old Theo goes to camp. Last year was his first time and the experience was so positive that he and his family decided to repeat it. “Mainly because he had a great time and was excited,” explains his mother, Teresa Lazaro, “but also because we need him.” Both are working and unable to be with their children – they have another ten month old daughter – with children on vacation for about ten weeks. “We can take a maximum of two or three, but even shifts and vacations will not cover that.” So, “If you can afford it, because some are quite expensive, even though they are crowded,” he says, summer camp is a good lifesaver for everyone. “There he does various activities and with new people,” he advises.

During these two years he chose a camp organized outside of Theo’s school to leave the context in which he develops throughout the course and also to meet other different children: “We want him to leave the city – they live in Madrid. Outdoor activities, the feeling of summer. ” But choosing is not easy.

The offer of camps is currently huge. There was an evolution from the activity we associated with decades ago compared to tents, sacks, and nights. play, A detailed catalog of specialties, which undoubtedly complicates the choice of parents. Robotics, English, Martial Arts, Farming, Emotional Intelligence, Cuisine; You just have to type in “Summer Camps Spain” on Google to see more than four and a half million results.

Sonia Martinez, a child psychologist at the Crece Bien Centers, advises that in order to choose the best camp for our children, we must take into account, on the one hand, that it suits their tastes and, on the other hand, their eating habits, socialization and overnight – if they are already asleep. Spent a few days away from their parents -. But in any case, he says, “it brings with it many related benefits at any age,” especially the formula chosen by Teresa to enroll in a school-run organization where children encounter new scenarios, new people. And various activities ..

What does this bring them?

Socialization begins in childhood. In our relationships with others, we develop a personality that is ready to integrate into society. When children connect with other people and peers, they gain the ability to deal with different situations, feel protected, and integrate better. When adults, who are usually fathers and mothers, do not attend, they have to carry out this socialization independently. This is encouraged in academic settings such as schools, but also in recreational areas such as camps. “It usually changes the old days when you went to town with your grandparents and cousins. It is seen as an extension of life experience (beyond school), ”says Monte Modesto, a teacher.

“When they see that they are alone there and can do anything but gain autonomy, they gain self-confidence.” If adults encourage them to interact with other children than usual, such as school friends, they will be forced to learn things that are normal for us adults, such as starting a conversation, making new friends. Or reaching agreements and playing new roles.

The fact that he leaves the camp organized by the school also brings him into a new context. “If they see that they can drive in nature, or in a camp where they speak English, or just do various activities such as painting, swimming… they will feel safe in many situations. “These opportunities serve as a test when they are adults and also teach them to choose partners and friends,” said the psychologist.

We “trained” them for that

We can train boys and girls so that when the time comes, they start the adventure that camping brings to them, they have the necessary skills and qualities to see it as fun and not suffering. It is possible to do this with them shortly before, or, whichever is more appropriate, with a small outing during their childhood outings.

“It’s better to be progressive,” experts say. This way we will be able to understand when a boy or a girl is trained much better than by age criteria. “It depends more on what we got used to them, whether they did other shorter activities with other children, whether they were successful with them and whether they feel good about other experiences …”, – says Martinez. So he recommends being in an urban camp for the first time and a few hours in the morning. Later, when you have time to exercise at night, for example with a friend or family member, and spend time with your parents on the weekends, move to a nightclub.

Monte Modesto thinks it is useful to divide by his age to understand what type of camp he should be filming in. Thus, “it is better to enroll in 4 to 5 years in the so-called day camps where they are busy when their parents work and then sleep at home. At around 8-9 years old they could start doing camps where they slept outside, but better in a close environment or with monitors or companions who know about other activities so as not to suddenly get it.

By the age of 13 or 14 they can already sleep in camps far from home, even in other countries. “Bad experiences in the camps, he says, are usually experienced by boys or girls who have not traveled with school on field trips, accompanied by parents everywhere, or never slept away from home …” But if a little is done gradually, there should be no problem, “he advises. .

Sonia Martinez agrees that between the ages of seven and eight, it is usually too early to spend the night outside because they are still dependent on adults for their own autonomy. “By the age of seven, they are more independent, they have internal habits about hygiene, food, sleep, they no longer have to wake up at night and they control the sphincters perfectly. “But it always depends on the maturity of the child, there are those who can go to camp at a younger age because they are better prepared, and others for whom it may be soon at the age of seven,” he said.

If we have already decided to sign up for them, it is advisable to talk to them naturally about what it will be like, send positive messages about what they are going through and explain that we will be. When they return: “It is not necessary to attach too much importance to it or to speak a thousand times. In fact, it can be counterproductive because you can perceive it as something very big and be afraid of it. “

What if you do not want to go?

If the child does not want to go to camp, first of all, ask him / her why and ask him / her, however, in principle, it may be normal for him / her to be restless and afraid of meeting the news with people he / she does not know. “There are children who resist more because it is an environment they do not know and do not know 100% whether they will be able to dominate it,” explains Martinez. But fear is another emotion and, as such, can be educated. “They will know how to act if we understand this fear and support it to overcome it. “If we prevent them from detecting this, the only thing we can achieve is to increase it,” he said.

We help them understand their fears by telling them that we are all afraid of what we do not know, giving them our own examples in which, as adults, we were also afraid, looking for a situation in which they felt fear and overcame it. This is explained childishly by a psychologist expert. “Do you remember when you first went to school? “At first you were scared of that and now you like it and you have friends there,” he said, for example.

Another strategy is to help them visually understand what the camp will be like, how much fun they are going to do, what activities they are going to do, how good it is to meet other children, how well their monitors are behaving. Taking care of them – this is important because they are strangers to them and they have to trust them – and how happy everyone will be when he or she returns home. “Just do not be afraid, it does not work, you have to help him visualize it and offer it as a challenge that he overcomes and, above all, enjoys. “At the end of the day, it consists of pleasure,” concludes the psychologist.

Source: El Diario





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