I Want My Kids to Have Epic Summers, Which Is Why I Force Them to Go to Summer Camp

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In modern society, or in my house at least, our kids live very structured, organized, contained lives. They attend school, activities, and scheduled play dates, complete homework assignments and required reading, and go to bed at the same time every night. Our schedules keep us all happy and sane during the school year, but once Summer arrives, it feels only right to loosen the reins and relax.

Unfortunately, attempting to relax with kids is kind of like trying to open-water swim with sharks: possible in theory, but for most of us, super stressful in reality. We all know our kids need the experiences of unstructured days, outdoor play, and dirty bare feet, but after about a week, those feet start to stink, and a mom can get tempted to queue up a never-ending Netflix playlist and hide until school starts again.

Summer camp forces children out of their routines and helps them find out who they are beyond the confines of home and hovering parents.

And that’s exactly why, once your kids are old enough, you should force them to go to Summer camp, whether they like it or not (but they’re probably going to like it). The reasoning is simple. I want my kids to have the carefree, sweaty, free-spirited Summer experiences I cherish so much from my own youth, and I know I’m not the best person to deliver them, no matter how many Summer mom hacks I add to my Pinterest boards.

Sure, I can take them to the pool a couple of days a week, offer up endless afternoon trips to the ice cream shop, plan a Summer vacation or…

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