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Spring Break Camps
Keeping Children Active and Fulfilled
Do you remember what Spring Break felt like when you were a child? The rush of freedom and the endless possibilities that a week free from school provided were idyllic. There were the countless hours of hockey played behind the school and the liberty to stay up late and sleep in all week long. But as a parent, that week when the education system shuts down in March is less apt to inspire bliss than it does dread. For many families, the arrival of spring break can be a proverbial wrench thrown into the well-oiled machine that defines their day-to-day routine.
It's bad enough that the holiday falls at the end of winter and, if left to their own devices, instead of spending their time outdoors getting exercise, too many children prefer to avoid the cold weather and would love nothing more than to spend their week of freedom idling in front of televisions computer and tablets.
But the holiday dilemma can be especially challenging for working parents whose children are not old enough to be left alone. If they are unable to take time off work, Spring Break presents them with few options. They can always hire a babysitter, or rely on the kindness of extended family members to look after their child. A worst case scenario involves toting their kids to work. Parents with babysitting concerns or worries about the number of sedentary hours their child will spend in front of a gaming console may want to consider enrolling their child in a camp.
It's not just about fun and games. Studies have concluded that camp creates a positive group setting for youth development. Troy Glover, the director of the University of Waterloo's Healthy Communities Network, who spearheaded the Canadian Summer Camp Research Project, concluded in a 2012 paper that: “The significant changes in campers' growth speak tremendously of the summer camp experience.” The opportunity to socialize and learn to get along with others, combined with physical challenges and opportunities to learn, contribute to the child's development and well-being." And there is no reason why a Spring Break camp can't be just as fulfilling.
Child health experts believe the key to finding the right camp for your child begins with assessing his or her interests and skills. It is also important to include your youngster's opinions, respecting the choice of camp the child would like to attend. You must also ensure that your child meets the pre-admission medical requirements when signing them up for camps that demand a degree of physicality.
So rather than paying for a babysitter to watch your child sit in front of a computer or a television for the entire week of Spring Break, sign your child up for a week of hockey camp or dance. If they have a panache for cooking, find the camp that sets their culinary passions free. Neither you nor your child will regret it.
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