6 Reasons To Send Your Toddler To Sleep-Away Camp
It's that time of year for many parents: school is ending, and the long, hot summer stretch is ahead.
And for some families, that means it's time to pack up the biggest duffel bag they own and send their little ones to sleep-away summer camp for a week...or more weeks. (I was one of those kids who went to sleep-away camp for a full two months every single summer for 7 years, from age 8 to age 15; I happened to loooove it, so it wasn't like being shipped off to Siberia or anything!)
However, my daughter is only three-and-a-half -- so probably still a leeeetle young for sleep-away camp, jah? And yet I did start fantasizing about what life would be like if she was at camp for any span of time...
Here are six definite PROS:
1. An exponential drop in... loads of laundry as well the associated electric and water bill that comes with those loads. Sure, camp can be expensive but think of the soapy savings!
2. I could probably take about half the amount of Advil I currently take, to remedy the discomfort associated with: bending awkwardly over the tub to wrestle-wash her hair; dragging a suddenly boneless toddler off to her room when she needs a time out, and other physical tasks that can make a 30-something body feel 80-something.
3. I could actually see-- and enjoy!-- the sunset. With a drink in my hand. And without a monitor in the other. Having a private roof-deck off of our apartment is a blessing. But when the trials and tribulations of bedtime (the call-backs, the inevitable delays, the tears and tantrums) coincide exactly with the most lovely hour of summer days, that means I often miss out on slowly sipping a drink and watching the sun go down. The deck is just far enough away from her room that I can't hear her when I'm up there (and the monitor doesn't really work up there, alas), and she's still just too little for me to scurry away for solo Sancerre with the sunset. BUT, with kiddo off at camp I could get my evening fill and feel like the extra money we pay for having the roof-deck is ALL worth it.
4. Dinner. Out. At a restaurant. On a weeknight. (And NOT at 5pm.)
5. 30-minute showers. Alone! I will become perfectly moisturized and deep conditioned and have the most well-shaved legs of all time. Briefly.
6. Hopefully a near-immediate five-pound weight-loss. Without the stolen fries, bites of mac-n-cheese, the polishing off of pizza, the sips from juice boxes, the errant Goldfish cracker (or 20)...I'm convinced that I'd shed the particularly insidious weight that often piles ON just as soon as you manage to get the baby-weight off.
And then, of course, one MAJOR, MAJOR CON (besides the obvious fact that I'm entirely kidding about tiny kids going to camp!):
1. Are you kidding me? I'd miss my sweet little pickle too much! As it is, the second I wrestle this monkey into bed and off to sleep, I want to hug and kiss on her some more. (But not nearly enough to even consider creeping into her darkened room for a quick cuddle -- the light sleeper would never let me live it down and wake right up!
And besides, I also fear that while having kids away at camp would be a fun respite, it might make the transition BACK to full-force parenting when they come home that much harder?! Or does it not work like that?
My question you you: Does anyone with experience sending kids to sleep-away camp want to weigh in? Is the 'time off' as awesome as it sounds, or does it make for a tough transition when they come back? (Of course, I'm talking purely from a selfish standpoint here -- about the transition for PARENTS, not so much for kids.) Let me know what you think! I'll be stashing it away for future use!