You’ve heard it everywhere – these have been unprecedented times. With schools closed, sports and activities cancelled, parents adjusting to working at home, families are spread thin mentally and emotionally. We get it! Most are just looking to catch a break (and their breath) and we’ve had to adjust our standards and expectations to match the state of the world. For many parents this has meant relying on extra screen time in an already screen-absorbed world to entertain their children.
What once may have been a last resort has been a necessary crutch to get through the pandemic, but there is no denying the downsides to upping the time and dependence of phones, television, and tablets. In the U.S., 71% of parents confess they are at least somewhat worried about their child’s screen time. Over-stimulation of the mind, under-stimulation of the body, emotional distress, and not to mention the never-ending requests to purchase more apps!
When was the last time you unplugged and enjoyed the sunshine? We’d wager you felt pretty good! Imagine this on a grand scale for your kids. With this is in mind, we’d like to offer a way to counteract and balance the overhaul of technology in our lives – CAMP! Our outdoor camp offers wholesome, classic, and deeply important ways for our kids to connect with themselves, each other, and nature. The importance of play – real play – seems simple but it is the ultimate solution to bridging the gap we’ve all been feeling over this past year. We emphasize the importance of good, old-fashioned fun in the sun that most are hard-pressed to find anywhere else, with countless benefits to our campers.
Decreased Risk for Obesity
When kids spend more time outdoors being active it decreases their risk for obesity. In fact, studies show that every hour a child spends in front of a screen decreases physical activity time, increasing the risk for obesity or unhealthy weight gain. Summer camp provides days filled with physical activity from hiking to sports and swimming to good old-fashioned running around. It keeps a child moving instead of sitting fixed to a computer screen or hand-held device.
Less Worry Monitoring Screen Time
It can be difficult to worry about how much screen time your child is spending, especially if you are working during the summer. However, studies show that parental monitoring of children’s media has a positive effect on:
- Children’s sleep
- School performance
- Prosocial and aggressive behaviors
At camp, your child participates in healthy, social activities that encourage healthier behaviors, all while having supervised fun. This is especially important in a child’s middle years when parents are less likely to have time to worry about monitoring what they watch. As children become more independent and require less supervision, they have more time to spend in front of a screen exposed to age-inappropriate content. At camp, your child spends the summer of these crucial years engaged in healthy activities for mind and body.
Less Exposure to Violence
When screen time is mediated it can also help limit exposure to media violence. The more screen time a child has, the more risk there is for exposure to not only violence but substance use, sex, and of course commercials for unhealthy food choices. These are all things that contribute to negative outcomes because children are influenced by screen time as it becomes a learning mechanism.
It negatively influences a child’s perceptions, behavioral responses and even beliefs. Summer camp instead exposes them to positive influences that help them develop a more positive attitude, become more resilient and acquire healthier social responses.
More Group Activity for Development
Group play is a vital component of kids developing social skills and understanding cultural norms. Through group play and activities they learn the importance of cooperation and being involved in group structures. Camp activities highlight group play while encouraging independence. Instead of sitting alone in front of a screen, kids learn important skills including:
- Testing relationships
- Understanding acceptable group behavior
Summer camp provides the perfect environment for children to develop social skills.
Summer camp programs provide an excellent place for children to develop their creativity. Arts and crafts projects outside an “educational” environment allow a child to express themselves without the worry of being judged. It is one of the most important aspects of self-expression contributing to your child’s emotional health.
Camp provides a safe environment to promote creative development offering a sense of accomplishment and confidence. It opens their minds and can often free them of emotional burdens as they can express their feelings in a new way. It teaches them problem-solving skills while fostering mental growth. They learn more about their own unique qualities and personality while appreciating the diversity of others. Children also develop skills that improve their ability to make their own choices.
Children and Nature
Being close to nature takes kids away from the screen while offering many benefits including:
- Enhanced excitement about the activities they participate in
- Increases interest in science
- Increases ability to learn
- Restoring a child’s attention
- Relieves stress
- Teaches self-discipline
- Keeps them engaged
- Increases physical fitness
- Enhances social connections
- Stimulates creativity
At summer camp the majority of activities take place outdoors. Your child is closer to nature and has fun learning about the environment and aspects of wildlife and local plant life. They develop new interests in nature while benefiting from the added physical activity.
This summer, why not reduce the worry of how much screen time your kids are having by sending them to camp? They’ll be healthier and happier, and you’ll have peace of mind.