Summer camps are ideal for children to put aside their shyness and experience living with others. Some mothers may picture their child spending time in a summer camp, and think that their child is shy and could have problems adapting to it.
The first thing you need to know is that your child is going to be in a secure place, where everyone, supervisors and other children, is going to be helping them integrate with the group.
Children tend to come to the summer camp alone, so they are all in the same situation: they are with strangers who they are going to be spending 7 or 15 days of their summer with. They all have to mix with each other so they will get to know each other much faster, as they need to interact with their environment.
“Summer camps are a unique chance to develop personally and academically in a dynamic and active way” - Karla Espinal, director of preschool and primary at Liceo Bilingüe Centroamericano.
The supervisors play a huge role as if they see that your child is having problems integrating with the other children, they will help them. This is is one of the supervisors' duties.
You also need to give them time. They may find it difficult at first, but this normal; indeed, many adults would be a little uncomfortable going somewhere where they don't know anybody and and don't know what they're going to be doing there. But this will help them in the future: it will be a lot easier for them to be comfortable around others as they'll be able to deal with these situations with confidence.
For your child to overcome their shyness, it is good for them to socialise with children of their own age group, and summer camps are a great environment to do so, as the groups and activities are divided by age.
Here, Ángel Alegre talks about his experience at summer camps:
“Summer camps are what have helped me the most. At a summer camp, I could spend 15 days, constantly surrounded by people my own age; what's more, they didn't know anything about me, so I could create a new identity from day 1. I remember always trying to be the first to speak with the other kids as soon as we would get off the bus, the first to have a wash during bath time and the first to volunteer for an activity.”
Mothers play a huge role in helping their children overcome shyness. A study done at the University of Maryland says that the key is in the relationship between mother and child. It is the mother who must encourage her child to make friends, socialise and, at the same time, not put pressure on them. Understand your child's capabilities but always encourage them to be open; if it's not dealt with now, it could get worse and be harder to resolve when they're older.
Encourage your child to go to summer camp and they will have so much fun!