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Why summer camp may be the best thing for your child

A local psychologist talks about why summer camps are so great for kids, especially after the pandemic

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Summer is upon us and as schools are letting out for vacation and parents are looking for activities for their children to do. 

The pandemic cancelled many summer camps last year but this year, many places are gearing back up to welcome Midlands kids. 

“I actually work full time so summer camp is one of those things… one its good for her and it's also beneficial to us so we can continue working," says Jennifer Jennison, an Irmo mom who is getting ready to send her 8-year-old, Adelaide, to summer camp.

“She gets to be around other kids and then I think it teaches her a respect for other adults," these are some of the surface-level benefits of summer camp. But, according to psychology professor DR. Nicole Zarrett, there are so many more.

“These are enriching settings, right? So they are designed to support positive development and in ways that you know, schools sometimes don’t have time to do," Dr. Zarrett says.

Dr. Zarrett tells us these programs are all centered around the support of a developing child. Participation in these activities have shown to be directly related to positive psychological health, self-confidence, self-worth among other benefits.

After last summer forced many kids to stay home and miss these enriching activities, this year’s programs are more important than ever, “One of our biggest concerns about our children and adolescents mental health at this point is around the level of isolation that they’ve experienced in the past year," Dr. Zarrett says, "this is a critical time in their development to be surrounded by peers for some of the things I mentioned like social skills and just peer connection and some of the kinds of intimacy that you develop with friendships that is different than what you develop with adults.”

When sending your child to camp this summer, remember all the developmental benefits they will be exposed to.

Here are some resources for summer camps near you.