5 Ways Summer Camp Improves a Child’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

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While the news has been filled with continued updates on the world-wide pandemic, the U.S election and other events that will shape our children’s future, we must not forget the importance of continuing to help our children develop the skills we are practicing ourselves each day as we manage our way through our world’s new reality. Phase recognizes the importance of nurturing and developing emotional intelligence within all of our programs to gain successful outcomes and giving them the tools to be successful as they grow.

If your child could grow in the following areas, keep reading:

Sharing                        Patience                      Focus              Emotions

Grit                              Problem Solving         Empathy          Manners

Friendship                   Teamwork                   Self Control    Responsibility

“Our emotional intelligence, as opposed to our intelligence quotient or IQ, is the ability to identify our feelings and emotional responses, regulate them, and empathize with others’ feelings”, says Marc Brackett, the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Similar to many who work and conduct research within the field of education, it is concerning to him that we’ve long underestimated and ignored EQ, especially in kids, instead focusing on academic success and testing them to measure it. Meanwhile, their emotional skills and well-being have fallen by the wayside.

The good news is that summer camp can be a great place to develop these critical skills.

Focus: Camp gives kids extended time away from technology. Kids learn to be still, stop, and begin to engage in face-to-face conversations with their peers and role models.

Patience: Whether it involves being patient with friends, waiting for an activity to start or waiting in line to wash their hands, summer camp provides endless opportunities for campers to learn patience and experience delayed gratification in an “I need it now” culture.

Teamwork: Camp continually provides opportunities for kids to work together to solve challenges to achieve a shared goal.

Friendship: Campers are surrounded by role models who don’t carry phones, meaning kids get undivided attention from people they can look up to and model their behavior after.

Grit: Summer Camp also provides multiple opportunities for kids to struggle in healthy ways, leading to their growth. Kids struggle having to share supplies with eight other campers, participate in competition even when they are not themselves competitive, taking risks in challenges, and making new friends. Again, this struggling leads to really good things they would not have experienced otherwise!

In the midst of all of this social and emotional growth, kids have a blast. While we finished the school year under very strange circumstances that doesn’t mean our kids can’t keep flourishing. As families venture out of the house, consider making camp an integral part of your child’s summer. It’s not just fun and games.

Frank Bealer

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