Why I go camp hunting

What shall he do this summer? That’s the question I have been asking myself now that March hits the midway mark. The temptation is to answer, ‘nothing.’ But who am I kidding? I am not strong enough to withstand the now near compulsory pressure of having to enrol the tyke in a ‘Summer Camp.’

River rafting at Frolic Boonies. Pic: Frolic Boonies

These days not fixing up a summer camp is almost like denying your child an important developmental milestone. Doing nothing is no longer an option, almost up there in the banned list as sleeping late.

Even if you are a parent who subscribes to that philosophy of doing nothing and argue that this is what you did and you turned out fine, let me warn that you will soon realise the perils of that situation. This will happen when junior does nothing at all the whole day except a) watch television nonstop b) read books and colour every available scrap of empty paper c) romp around with cousins and friends in the hot sun d) Ask you every five minutes what he should do now.

Option A is now considered almost a crime in Mommy world. Even it means that you can do chores in peace, the moment you turn on that TV, your inner good mommy will invariably force you to turn it off after some time.

As for Option B, it is always good but needs to be clubbed with some sort of physical activity or else mommy guilt about the child’s lack of physical dexterity, agility is sure to eat you up. Option C is redundant in today’s world as cousins and friends are all busy with their own summer camps. As for Option D, all mothers want to avoid it so let’s not even go there.

Summer camps are to the holidays what gold is to an Indian wedding. The bride may never wear the jhumkas and gold chains that everyone’s gifted her but it’s the done thing anyway. Likewise, your child may not imbibe much in two weeks, may not even like going every morning but for many parents, it’s the done thing anyway.

Honestly, camps are a chance to pay someone else to engage your kid gainfully for a few hours and buy you some time that’s guilt and activity free. Chances are that two or three weeks won’t teach your junior swimming, shloka or science but like we all tell ourselves, at least it will be a start.

And perhaps it is a start, says a friend who conducts popular craft classes for kids in my neighbourhood. As a kid, her mother sent her for different

craft classes (not against her wish, she clarifies) and today she attributes her skill in that field to those.So whether it is horseriding or aeromodelling, free time for yourself or active time for your kid, let you child take up something that he truly enjoys. And if that happens to be "doing nothing" at home, so be it, though my prayers of patience (and wide eyed admiration) are with you. Meanwhile excuse me while I go camp hunting.

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About Reshmi Chakraborty 62 Articles
Reshmi Chakraborty is a features writer and mother of a 6-year-old and a one year old. She lives near Bannerghatta Road.