When school is out for the summer, teachers and administrators warn about summer learning loss and tactics to prevent it. However, have you considered what you can do to prevent camp learning loss?
At summer camp, kids fall into a routine of responsibility (asset #30). They are in charge of their daily chores, making their beds, preparing themselves for the day ahead, remembering their schedule, packing necessary items for their activities, and more. Without mom and dad, but with the guidance of counselors, campers practice caring for themselves and feel ownership over their daily lives.
Back at home, it can be easy for parents to ease back into the responsibility role for their campers. While this means 9 times out of 10 your camper will be prepared and have what he/she needs for the day, what lesson is it teaching? Here are some strategies to keep your camper in the routine of responsibility:
- Remind yourself it’s ok for your camper to stumble. It may take a few “oops” moments to remember to pack a textbook or pair of shoes for practice, but it is part of learning. The sense of accomplishment he/she will feel when nothing is forgotten for a whole week is worth it!
- Take a small step back. Reading over a major project or giving a few reminders about an important deadline is ok; you don’t have to leave your camper to fend for his or her self. Try asking questions about how a project is going or who they have been working with on it. This shows support and interest in their day without going into helicopter parent mode.
- Create expectations. Talk to your camper about taking on more responsibility at home like taking out the trash, feeding the dog, or helping with dinner and dishes. He or she may come to you with questions about how you do things or tips for staying ahead of schedule.
The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is used commonly around schools, but also rings true for assets and developmental skills learned at camp!