Not Doing Summer Camp

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Kindergartener not in camp all summer - are we crazy?

April 2006

We have a child who will be starting kindergarten in the fall. We have decided to put her in just one week of camp this summer, since I'm home with her and her younger toddler brother. I was thinking we'd do a lot of playdates with her preschool buddies, swim at Strawberry canyon, etc. But... it seems most, if not all, of her friends will be in all-day camps all summer-- Zoo Camp, art camp, science camp, you name it! Whatever happened to the ''lazy days of summer''? We can't afford so much camp, and I really want to spend time with my kids. Will we be sick of each other if she's not in camp with her buddies? Any advice is appreciated!

Dear ''Are we crazy?'' Just say ''no!'' If your resources allow you the luxury of having a parent stay home to parent, take advantage of the summer! The relaxed pace of the summer refuels my children. My eldest does one week of ''camp'' the rest is spent playing with her sibling, friends, visiting family, summer fun activities and, even, nothing. Summer's a great time to get your kids OFF of a schedule and use their open time to discover their own creativity and sense of adventure. Too often summer ''camps'' are simply another form of childcare; if you need that, great. But boy, what a gift you can give your child to not be ''parked'' at another scheduled activity! dhtchk

The idea of summer camps is for parents with jobs to be able to work while schools are closed. I believe most parents don't get 2 months off every summer!

I whole-heartedly agree and am doing just two weeks for my kindergartener in camp when I really need the coverage to be able to work on a project I have this summer. I am sending my older boy (9) to a few more weeks of camp because he really enjoys the activities and has some friends to pal with. When I was working full time and my first son was just done Kindergarten he did go to camp almost all summer but also had buddies and it was fine but I think they both appreciate the unstructured time. As long as you can limit the TV/screen time and the ''I'm bored'' whining. I think unstructured time is really valuable as it promotes more creativity and exploration. We are planning some family days to museums etc which I rarely get to do with them during the school year.

Have fun and let kids (and you) enjoy the freedom! fondly remember long summer days

I know how you feel. Last summer we were in the same son was starting kindergarten and all of his friends were signing up for tons of camps all summer. We signed up for one week of camp and a t-ball class, thinking that it would be good experience for him getting ready for kindergarten; we also didn't want to spend the money on much more than that. This year, its the same thing, friends are going all summer, but we are not sending him at all! He didn't enjoy camp that much last year and isn't much interested this year. He'd much rather have a lazy, spontaneous summer at home with his siblings, and go on outings etc. We are lucking that I'm a stay at home mom and my husband can take a lot of time off work so we go away alot too. Especially after a whole year of full day kindergarten, I feel that he doesn't need to be forced up and out the door every morning in a structured enviroment again all summer. That's alot for a 5 year old. I feel its important developmentally for a 4-6 year old to have lots of free play time to let his imagination go free. Plus, these years will go fast when they want to hang out with us; I want to enjoy that while we can. Plus, being a stay at home mom, I really didn't want to/couldn't afford to spend so much money on camps while I'm home.

Bottom line is that it depends on the kid and the parents. It seems some kids go stir crazy not having lots of activities and some moms go crazy being with their kids all day, not to mention if they work, then of course they have to find something for their kids. But if you are able and enjoy being with your kids, I think its great to enjoy the good ol' lazy days of summer!

That's my 2 cents. Trust yourself and do what you feel is right for your family. looking forward to summer

''The lazy days of summer' were enabled by stay-at-home Moms. You should feel fortunate that you are able to stay at home to let your children play at home. Summer camps provide essential babysitting services for families with both parents working; their children have to go somewhere. Many Moms would probably love to stay at home lke you and not have their children in camp much of the summer.

Wow! I was shocked by some of the answers to the question about camps. For working parents, camp is a good alternative, and of course it is for child care -- why else would we be spending hundreds of dollars over the summer. I love my job and even though I have the luxury of working half-time (leaving me a fair amount of kid time) I still need a place for my child to be safe and busy. Some of you need to get a grip on your judgements. For full time working parents there is no choice -- why be so nasty -- using language about ''parking'' kids, etc. Jeesh! disgruntled

I had to respond to this question after seeing the first round of replies. I am a SAHM and I am putting my child in camp for 3 weeks. She will probably take swimming and some sort of gymastics or dance class as well (at which I will most likely be present). This is absolutely the MOST that we can afford. I have never thought of summer camp being designed for families with two working parents that couldn't be at home with the kids for two months. Rather, I am enrolling my daughter in camp so that she is less likely to get bored, keeps her current interests alive whilst fostering new ones, and won't loose her social skills whilst making new friends. I also know that if I have to be her primary care giver 24/7 for two+ months, I will go out of my mind (we ALL need a break). That said, I am very much looking forward to the time we will have together, and I plan to make the most of it. But I do think camp will provide some excitement and interest that I won't be able to, and create some balance for us in the process. I think if you want to provide something interesting for your kid(s) to do (that you don't think you can do yourself), there are plenty of 1 or 2 week camps for them to attend, but I certainly wouldn't feel guilty over not sending them to camp, if you have the wherewithall and the desire to keep them busy yourself. I am SURE there are families out there not sending their kids to camp all summer, and I bet if you take them to the park one day, you'll find them there (if they don't go to your kids' school). Bottom line, do what's right for your family and not worry about keeping up with the Jones. another mom of a camper