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Reasons Not To Overplan Kids' Summer, According To An Expert

Expert says it's good to have some unscheduled days during the summer vacation when the child can spend time having unplanned fun.

The U.S.A. has more than 12000 summer camps, and they are attended by more than 11 million children and adults each year. These camps allow children to hone skills in a protected and nurturing environment, and kids may have a lasting and beneficial impact on them.

In a fast-paced life, parents like to plan out everything for their kids and they do not want their kids to waste their time doing nothing. While the kids are still basking in the excitement of the last few days of school, parents already have started planning on how to keep them productively engaged during the upcoming 60 days. So, most try scheduling and planning different activities – and summer camps are the most preferred options.

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However, Lori Davies, a child psychotherapist at Muskoka and a social worker with a Masters Degree, says, “I do believe that kids need a little bit less structured time. But not back to back activities and things like that."

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While she doesn't deny that a routine is essential, she wants the kids to have some downtime too. She offered, “There needs to be some downtime where they can just kind of take it a little bit easy and they don’t have to be always wound up preparing for the next activity.”

This is not a universal truth, and some families are comparatively less structured than others, and she finds no harm in it. After a year full of activities, there’s no harm if the kids spend some time with their friends, do some crafts, or watch some movies. They, too, need time to unwind themselves and spend some "me-time."

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A study carried out by the Cambridge-based Primary Review states schoolchildren suffer from ‘deep anxiety’ and are equally overwhelmed as their parents by the messages, instructions, and choices thrown at them each day. Their fragile and still-developing brain is not yet ready for all the pressure! Parents should keep their schedule open for unscheduled fun.

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While camps and activities are excellent and very helpful for the kids, but not for the entire vacation. Furthermore, not all kids enjoy these camps – introverted and shy kids might not enjoy them.

She said, “Some kids thrive and really like it and other kids it is very stressful for them. A child that is a little bit more anxious, a child that is more introverted and it’s really difficult for them to be in social situations a (parent should) be thinking about a day camp versus an overnight camp.”

Davies perfectly understand that parents need to work, and children need to be cared for. And the summer camps are the safest haven, but letting them spend a few hours of the day just being themselves is undoubtedly going to help in the long run.

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