Why Summer Day Camp? 5 Conversation-Starters to Use With Your Kids
Most kids enjoy summer day camp – and the memories and friends they make there often last a lifetime. Campers have fun and experience things they don’t have time for during the school year.
However, some kids aren’t so sure about going to camp when they first hear about it. Perhaps they like their current routine…or summers filled with lazy days. And something like a STEM camp might sound like work.😒
Why wouldn’t they prefer to sleep late and play video games?🎮
The American Camp Association sponsored a five-year independent study where researchers talked to former campers, parents and camp staff about how camp impacted their lives. It revealed overwhelmingly that previous campers grew to be more hopeful about the future, confident in themselves and better able to get along with others.
But anecdotal evidence doesn’t persuade kids. Instead, parent-child discussions about camp should cover the topic – and the child’s thoughts and feelings about it – from the perspective of parents who want the best for their child.
Good news! If the thought of summer day camp doesn’t excite your children, we have some tried-and-true approaches to get them thinking in new ways about camp this summer.
As with any discussion, begin with open and honest communication. Then use these 5 conversation-starters to get your kids excited about camp.
1. “What makes you want to get out of bed each morning?”🌞
When you ask your children open-ended questions, it’s best to sit quietly and listen to their answers. Keep an open mind. How they answer will help guide your response and the rest of the conversation. It also helps model good communication and listening skills.
Some kids might say they are most excited for the day when they’re playing outside with friends. Others might say they really enjoy building games on the computer. Those kinds of answers can help you choose the best camps for them.
Encourage kids to research camps with you and find something that includes these interests. For example, kids who are into group sports might be excited about a KidzToPros (KTP) basketball camp. 🏀 Kids who prefer individual sports like tennis might choose that particular KTP activity.🎾
No matter their answers, you can find a KTP program that gets them more interested in day camp this summer.
2. “How would you design the perfect camp?”
Begin this conversation by talking about your family values. What are some important character traits that you and your children appreciate? Then discuss camp leaders and how they add to a camp experience.
What makes a good camp leader? Some traits include:
- Subject-Matter Expertise
The best counselors might be professionals who have experience with kids. They easily show empathy for different kinds of personality types. Perhaps they’re also experts at coding, sports or performing arts. 🎭
Then discuss what your children hope to gain from camp. Do they want to make new friends? Learn specific skills? Improve as a performer, gamer or soccer player?
Their answers should lead you toward camps where they’ll thrive.
3. “What do you want to try this summer?”
Summer is a great time for children to step outside their comfort zones and try new things at a summer day camp. At the same time, new experiences don’t have to be stressful. Kids should have fun with new discoveries and experiences, without fear of failure. That’s the focus of KTP summer camps.
While researching summer camps, read about their philosophies and guidelines.💻 In what ways does the camp staff instill independence in campers? How do they encourage and support kids? How do they boost students’ self-confidence so they believe in themselves?
Look for programs that feature some of your childrens’ interests, and a kind culture that brings out the best in them.👐
4. “What’s the best way to make friends?”
Meeting new people can be scary. It sometimes brings on anxiety and worry, which manifest themselves in physical issues like tummy pains or headaches. Encouraging kids to talk about social anxiety is one of the best ways to help them deal with it.
The best thing you can do, as a parent, is listen. You’re not trying to fix or solve anything. Just listen.👂
Talking through their worries oftentimes helps children conquer their fears. Afterwards, offering some strategies for making friends might be helpful. Taking these strategies with them into camp, school and beyond helps kids grow into confident human beings.
Some KTP summer camps offer more skills-based and individualized programs, while others focus more on group activities. However, camp instructors support social growth in all camps by helping children improve communication skills. Whether focusing on verbal or non-verbal communication, campers gain confidence by learning ways to be a good friend, collaborator and teammate.
5. “How can we communicate during the day?”
Separating from parents is difficult for some kids, especially following two years of quarantine or homeschooling. But campers may see the upside of day camp when they know you’re supporting them. 🙌
Discuss the best way to do that, based on your child’s personality. Some ideas include:
- Leaving a note in their lunch box every day ✉
- Texting each other, once in the morning and once in the afternoon 📱
- Sending a quick email or phone call at lunchtime 🖁
- Encouraging them to write in their journal during the day so they can discuss their thoughts and feelings later 📔
- Giving them your full attention during daily discussions 📡
- Letting them know you’re watching any streaming events posted on social media or camp apps 👀
Actions like these help kids feel like you’re part of their day, even if you’re not physically present.
Help Kids Get Excited About Summer Day Camp!
Asking kids about what they want from new experiences makes them feel heard. Use what they tell you to find camps that interest them so they’ll have something to look forward to.
At KTP, we’re here to support you and your kids. Contact our experts today about the best summer camp experience for your family.