Summer Send-Off

Fresh off my kids' smashingly successful solo trip to Florida to visit their grandparents, and looking ahead to summer, here's our topic for today: What do you think about sending kids away, either to camp or relatives, for a chunk of the summer?

I'm not sure I could ever send my kids off for more than a week or two. However, my husband went to eight weeks of sleepaway camp starting when he was seven. I went when I was 13. I know people who ship their kids to grandparents (especially when they live near a beach or in a rural setting) for most of the summer.

The parents get a break, grandparents or other relatives get to bond, kids experience a new level of independence (and a change of scenery). Sounds like "balance" all around.

What's your take? How old do kids need to be before you send them off? What age is too old? What are the pros and cons?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  March 16, 2007; 8:11 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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I say go ahead and farm them out to whoever will take them

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 16, 2007 7:17 AM

I stayed home with my parents. Had every dinner together. Played, and rode our bikes everywhere. Sometimes camped, somtimes just lay in the grass and watched the clouds. Visited relatives regularly. When I was older, had jobs of increasing responsibility for spending money.

My spouse went to camp while parents went to Europe for 6-8 weeks every year. When in their teens, put to work in family business (parents were the only employees), taking and shipping orders, depositing checks, and keeping track of parent's stock portfolio.

For our family, we decided to have those dinners together, vacation together, and visit relatives together. Now that they are older, and more responsible, they thanked us for those nostalgic summers.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 7:27 AM

The best times of my entire life were when I was shipped off for the month of August every year to a family friend's farm.

Man, did I love those animals! We didn't have pets at home; my mother said pets are
dirty.

All my little chores made me feel like a very important 3 year old young lady.

I still have the home movies from the '50s showing me feeding the cats fresh milk, hanging laundry, and cuddling with a newborn calf.

Happy, happy carefree times.

My parents had to drag me kicking, biting, and screaming to get me in the car for the ride home.

Posted by: smurfette | March 16, 2007 7:34 AM

When I was a teenager, I worked at a sleep-away camp where we had kids as young as 6 staying there for the entire summer. I thought that was far too young. Kids that age still need their mommy and daddy around.

Posted by: Questions....... | March 16, 2007 7:34 AM

It probably depends on the kid. My son didn't seem ready at age 11, but now at 13, he's dying to go away to camp. He's signed up for 3 weeks. My other child, on the other hand, is 8 and he wants to go now and he probably could be ready. But I'm not.

And I wish my parents would take my kids for a few weeks. They wouldn't because they say "they're you're responsibility" so I feel they lose out on a relationship with them. My parents are 3,000 miles away. And my kids are exquisitely well behaved so it's my parents issue--not my kids that are the issue. Pretty sad.

Posted by: anon today | March 16, 2007 7:36 AM

From about the age of 3 on, I spent the winters with my grandparents in FL, and some time in the summer with them at their lake house as well. My mom would come down to visit whenever she could, but as a single mom getting her PhD, life was pretty hectic, and my grandparents taking me at those times really helped her out. My family was very close when I was a child - we all lived in the same house even!!, so it never felt like I was being sent away. And it gave me wonderful memories of time with my grandparents, who both passed on by the time I was a teenager.

Posted by: StudentMom | March 16, 2007 7:40 AM

My kids have gone away to girl scout camp for a week, and have also gone for a week on vacation with friends' families, but never both trips in the same year.

I work full time, 40 hours not DC full time, and feel like I don't see them enough as it is. I would miss them too much to allow them to go away for more than a week. Grandparents are local, so they can see them on weekends. Other family is out of state, but when we see them, we all go.

Affordability for sleep over camps for more than a week would also be an issue with us.

Posted by: just my opinion | March 16, 2007 7:55 AM

My brother and I were shipped off to my grandparents house in FL each summer after my parents divorced. We flew by ourselves from Oregon to Florida, usually the day after school ended, and we returned the day before it started again. We loved it, since my grandparents had a pool, go-carts, lots of animals, etc. For my mom, there really was not much of a choice. She was on a single income, and paying for care all summer would have been extemely hard. We did that for about 5-6 years until we were old enough to work, do other things that didn't require babysitters. Now that we are grown, my mom has shared with us how incredibly difficult it was for her to do that each year.

Posted by: Mom of 2 | March 16, 2007 7:56 AM

I Girl Scout camp attended every summer starting at about age 9 until I was 15. I would go for a week or two maybe two or three times in the summer -- different sessions. Loved it.

Our situation will probably be different unless we move. Both my parents were teachers and had the summers off, so childcare wasn't an issue, and we'll be doing year round schooling where we live in NC unless we put our kids in private schools.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 16, 2007 7:57 AM

"so I feel they lose out on a relationship with them. My parents are 3,000 miles away. And my kids are exquisitely well behaved so it's my parents issue--not my kids that are the issue. Pretty sad."

So who moved 3000 miles away? Can't really blame your parents for lack of relationship if you were the one who put the children so far away. After raising my own family, I'm not sure I would want to take full responsibility of my grandchildren for several weeks either.

Posted by: to anon today | March 16, 2007 7:59 AM

I have trouble seeing a full summer-long sleepaway camp or grandparent visit. Partly selfish (I'd miss them too much), and partly not (I want them to have memories of relaxed, "boring" summers at home -- 20+ years after the fact, I finally recognize what a tremendous luxury it was to have so much free time that it actually bored me!).

But I absolutely want to send them to relatives or camp for shorter times. I spent several weeks every summer visiting grandparents, and those trips were the highlights of my year. Grandma spoiled me rotten, and Granny taught me how to can vegetables and make jam and generally feel useful and competent.

We started sending our daughter to my dad's for a week when she was only 18 months old. (!!) His idea -- I thought she was too young, but he practically begged for a visit. She has a complete blast. This year he's already trying to find really interesting day camps to send her to in the mornings -- of course, all she really wants is Grandpa, but it's really touching to see how important it is to him to make sure she has the best possible time.

Posted by: Laura | March 16, 2007 7:59 AM

When I was young, I my parents didn't arrange much for us to do. We pretty much just played in the backyard. I don't think there was money for camps.

As for my in-laws who live out west, my kids are the last of the grandchildren and they aren't as interested in having them around as they were the first of the thirteen. They really are not good at paying attention to the children either.

My parents live close by and between day camps, the time my husband and I take off and the time they spend with my parents, they have a pretty good time. I have step children in college that we are paying for so extra money even with two incomes coming in is rough.

I don't know any parents that send their kids off to camp.

Posted by: Not Busy | March 16, 2007 7:59 AM

When I grew up in DC (Cap Hill) I spent part of summer with grandparents in New Jersey/Maine, esp. August.

Now I live in lower slower delaware, and I do the reverse: the boys (as they get older) spend several weeks in DC/Maine with my parents (who still work.) They have done day camp for years at their day care here, but this year oldest ds is doing 4 weeks at Folger Shakespeare camp (and a week in Maine), middle ds is doing FONZ camp and a week in Maine, and youngest ds is doing a week in DC (museums, etc.) and possibly some time in Maine. It gives each child time with the gp's and access to specialized camps which suit their particular interest. When oldest ds turns 11 or 12 I will look at a week or two of sleepaway camp (I remember learning to sail/canoe/swim/campfires/hikes fondly.)

Jessker

Posted by: jessker 14 | March 16, 2007 7:59 AM

I went to camp for 10 years (4 as a counselor).

The youngest kids at the sleep-away camp (in "mini camp") were 8 years old. They only stayed for a week. That's a good amount of time for them. Almost all of them got homesick, but so did lots of the 12 year olds. The oldest kids at camp were about 13 or 14. If they wanted to come back, they had to be counselors.

As a camper, I never stayed longer than 4 weeks. I think that almost every kid will do fine at camp, but you have to know their limitations. Some of my friends stayed only 2 weeks, others stayed the whole summer. It depends.

When you pick a camp, do research. Meet the counselor when you drop them off. Take into account what the counselor says. We wrote letters home evaluating the kids, and I was always honest about how they got along. Some parents got leters explaining that their kid was being teased or was being a bully. I was always amazed to see those same kids the next summer.

Posted by: Meesh | March 16, 2007 8:01 AM

"The parents get a break...kids experience a new level of independence...Sounds like "balance" all around."

Yesterday we discussed the glories of dual income parenting. Today it's the wonders of shipping the kids off for weeks on end during the summer.

If your kids, especially the younger ones, spend more waking hours in the care of someone else, that doesn't seem like balance. It seems like parental outsourcing.

Posted by: Rockville Dad | March 16, 2007 8:02 AM

I went to visit my grandparents for the summer when I was 10. I flew by myself as an "unaccompanied minor" (airline's lingo). I stayed about 8 weeks. IT WAS GREAT!!! I got to bond with a lot of relatives I didn't know due to the bulk of my family being on the east coast and my parents living out west. Years later my mother mentioned that when I returned from that trip I was much more independent. She felt she had lost a little of her "baby."

My parents still live out west. I live in DC. My 4 y/o will probably spend a few weeks with them this summer, depending on when we can fly out. I feel he's too young to fly alone.

I think that if you have the opportunity to send your tweener or teenager to visit a relative in another part of the country, you should consider taking advantage of it. I knew so many kids in CA who had never left the state (easy to never leave a state so large) and I know just as many adults here in the DC area who have never left the area for more than a week or two at the beach or in Orlando. Visiting other places broadens a child's horizons and lays a foundation for a more well rounded adult.

Posted by: Cali Esq | March 16, 2007 8:02 AM

As wonderful as it can be to have children spend time with grandparents, I wonder if "sending them off" happens less these days because there's a trend toward people having children later in life. The grandparents are older too, so maybe some have less energy to be responsible for young children for extended periods. Even very well-behaved school-aged children would require a change in routine/more work for an older person/couple. For healthier/more energetic grandparents it may be that they're reluctant to give up the freedom to travel/have couple time after years of working and raising their own families.

As with everything else, it depends on the individual grandparents' health/interests. I imagine a week-long visit seems more realistic/manageable than a visit of several weeks to many grandparents.

I'll be interested to read what everyone has to say about sleepaway camp. Seven sounds awfully young to me, but I can't say what a minimum age would be. I suppose it depends largely on the individual child and the length of stay.

I've heard that some camps have a no contact rule for the first week. I understand the reasoning behind it, but this seems hard, especially for a grade-schooler. Is this rule the norm or the exception?

Posted by: Marian | March 16, 2007 8:04 AM

Oh how I wish I'd been shipped off the New Hampshire for a month or so when I was a kid! At this point in my life I'd go in a heartbeat -- if only I had the leave.

I say, if you've got the dough, go for it. It's the kind of thing your kids will remember forever.

You can coordinate the family vacation with part of it. Compared to city day-camps it's such an experience for a kid to really spend some time outside.

I'd say somewhere in the 8-10 year old range. You don't want to wait until they're 12-13 because they won't believe how great it will be and will give you a lot of grief about going. If you pick a residential camp you have some hope they'll make friends and maybe those kids will go again the next year. I wouldn't shy away from religious camps either. It hooks your kids into a network that will come up time and time again as they grow up.

New England -- I'm ready, when do we leave?

Posted by: RoseG | March 16, 2007 8:04 AM

We went to sleepaway camp when we were 10. 8 weeks I believe, until college, I think, except one summer for me when I was in high school. Oh, wait, two other summers I went to a local performing arts camp. And then one summer to israel. My grandmother always had us over for weekends, or she'd stay with uys if my parents went away, it really made for us having a special relationship with my grandma and her two sisters, who she lived with.
I think 10 is probably. A good age for sleepaway camp. We'll see how the kids are and when or if they want to go.
I'd send them off to grandma and grandpa but they are only 20 mins away, so they see them all the time. Maybe the older will spend a few days witth them this summer.

Posted by: atlmom | March 16, 2007 8:07 AM

Marian, the kids could not call their parents (there were only two phone in the camp--in the dining hall and the office), but they could write as many letters as their little fingers could manage. Lots of parents gave me stacks of letters when they dropped the kids off so that the kid could start getting them the next day.

But the girl scout camp that I went to was much more strict. One mail day a week and no care packages. It was tough.

Posted by: Meesh | March 16, 2007 8:10 AM

I spent the summer I turned 8 traveling with my paternal grandparents on an East Coast road trip. It was a great extension of our normal visit the East Coast for 2 weeks trip that I did every year with either my mother or my father.

On the sleep away camp thing -- I think I read last year that traditional camps are struggling and also having to modernize to keep up with people's desire to have instant access to their children. (More email and phone access mostly). Kind of a shame because the best thing about camp is fostering a sense of independence.

OT to scarry: You made me laugh this morning - fence boards (BF calls them house nazis) and fiery tempered pregnant scarry taking on the queen bees.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 16, 2007 8:15 AM

My daughter's favorite camps were horseback riding and llama. She had the time of her life at these camps, but I believe as in most things in life, the planning was the best part.

The award ceremonies at these camps are pretty cute. The little campers (and their parents)looked mighty proud when their names are called.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:16 AM

I love the idea of summer camp. When I was a kid, I would devour books about kids at camp, and dreamed of being able to go myself. It seemed like such a wonderful way to build independence and have fun for a summer (and, frankly, to get me away from my parents).

I would consider sending DD to summer camp, if she wants to go, when she's 9 or so. Unfortunately, it may never be an option for us. Im also in NC, and it's looking like by the time DD is old enough, we'll have moved to mandatory, univeral year-round schools. It's my only huge gripe with a year-round system.

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 16, 2007 8:18 AM

I begged my parents to let me go to sleepaway camp when I was 7 (turning 8 at the end of the summer). It was 3 weeks long. I was the youngest camper. I was ready for it, and had a good time *except* for the other campers my age. Their parents were all getting divorced that summer or just plain didn't want them around. So the kids my age were pretty messed up. It wasn't until I bonded with some of the older kids (whose family lives didn't have all the turmoil) that I felt happy there.

Now that I'm a mom, there's no way I would send my kid off to sleepaway camp when they are 7, mostly because of my experience. But a visit to the grandparents for a week would be great for all involved.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 16, 2007 8:18 AM

Rockville Dad:

In summer, kids are out of school, but our work hours dont change (and we dont automatically get more leave.) IMHO, all day school plus aftercare vs. all day camp and/or a week or two away (camp, family) doesnt equal "parental outsourcing." It equals making sure your kids are well cared for/ge time with family/get exposed to new activities/people/places.) A duel earner household has to do just that: keep earning.

Jessker

Posted by: jessker15 | March 16, 2007 8:24 AM

"As wonderful as it can be to have children spend time with grandparents, I wonder if "sending them off" happens less these days because there's a trend toward people having children later in life."

Marian, good point. I know my in-laws prefer to come up here while my sister-in-law and her husband go on vacation), so they can keep the kids in the same routine and the same bed -- and have a little time for themselves when the kids go to school/daycare!

On my side, the issue isn't the work but finding the time: both of my parents still work! I'm really, really lucky that my mom wants to see her grandkids so much that she picks them up from school at least once or twice every week, even though she teaches and runs her own business on the side. And my dad (who lives in another state) arranges his summer schedule around having his granddaughters visit (my daughter and her cousin, who is a year younger). It makes me really happy to see the kind of relationships they are building.

Posted by: Laura | March 16, 2007 8:24 AM

"It wasn't until I bonded with some of the older kids"

I solved the bonding problem by paying for my daughter's best friend to attend camp and other activities with my daughter.

They are 24 years old now and still best friends forever.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:25 AM

murfette, you were THREEE when you went away! You must be a truely independant soul! sounds like it worked great for you, but since my three-year old still climbs into bed with my husband and I at night, I doubt that would work for him! I wouldn't want to impose that kind of awkward situation on even my very best friend aor closest family member.

Posted by: Jen | March 16, 2007 8:29 AM

"I wouldn't shy away from religious camps either. It hooks your kids into a network that will come up time and time again as they grow up."

Right. Let the God Squad get their mitts on your kids as young as possible to scare
the hell out of 'em with threats of fire and brimstone.

Great network.

Are these the camps with the Virginity Pledges?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:30 AM

I sent all my emplo...um, kids...to "camp" called Nanjin Brick Concern. All summer they play in factory. Make money. Big fun. Of 4, 3 came back. Wife happy.

Posted by: Wu | March 16, 2007 8:31 AM

I went away to camp for at least 2 weeks and usually 4-6 weeks every summer starting when I was 8. It was AWESOME! DS#1 is only 5, so no away camp yet, but... we've found 2 traditional away camps accessible from the DC area that also have "family camp". Mom, Dad and kids go together for anywhere from a long weekend to 10 days. We're hoping to try it for a long weekend in Sept. Seems like a great way to introduce younger kids to the camp experience, while sharing something that I loved as a child.

DH on the other hand, never even went to day camp. Now, even though DS#1 loves day camp, DH still has trouble getting his head around it. Guess it's all what you grew up with.

Finally, have a question that's technically off topic, but I think tangentially related. Anyone have long-term experience with one parent taking the kids somewhere, say to grandpa's house at the beach, for the summer while the other parent says home to work and drives to join the family on the weekends?

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 16, 2007 8:31 AM

I think that having a child spent sometime elsewhere is a terrific idea. It introduces a concept of independence that all child will need eventually. I think that this should happen before the teen years. I know of children who have spent their entire lives thru high school totally with the parents and then have major problems going off to college. (Works the same way for parent) As always, you know your child best but they should not be allowed to be clingy forever.

Posted by: Fred | March 16, 2007 8:33 AM

I went to camp for 8 weeks from the time I was in third grade till college. I do remember family vacations after that but they tended to take place during winter break or spring break. NY has a February break time. Excellent for traveling during the off season. My mother stayed home till I was 12, so I guess her summers with no kids was her free time. She admitted to me when I was an adult, she did not really miss us at all. Even though that is tough to say, I can understand if I was a SAHM, it would be nice to have a break time. She wasn't always kid free the whole summer because middle brother decided in late elementary school that he hated camp. But oldest brother and myself loved it. It was the best memories of our childhood. I don't think I would send DD away for 8 weeks. She just doesn't seem the type to enjoy being away for so long. Also as two working parents, we don't get as much time with her. So we envision her attending church sleep away camp when she is around 8 or 9 for two weeks of the summer. I think the first two summers may only be one week. I think she would love the experience but get most of it in a two week period. I would also like to send her to see my mom and brother (they live next door) for a week each summer. I don't think my mom could really take it for more then a week. DD is her last grandchild and like Marian said, as they get older so does their health. Then we would vacation for at least a week. The times in between would be filled with day camps (which seem like glorified day cares or sports lessons). And we would try to do more weekend activities-like local theme parks, a beach weekend, visiting grandfather who has a pool etc...

Posted by: foamgnome | March 16, 2007 8:35 AM

Summer is the ultimate balancing act and each year there are different tricks to be performed on the wire. If you dont have much leave you should start planning in November and take into account your kids' ages, appetite for independence, and your income and work hours and location...all of which change each year.

Now...mix in wait lists and "previous camper" and county residence requirements and see what comes out.

When we first moved to Fairfax we could not get into the county program because kids previously in the program had priority. My son when to a different day camp with extended hours every two weeks spread over 2 counties and DC. I learned a lot that year about balance.


I have a folder that is golden-it includes every reasonably priced county or privately run camp/program within 20 miles. Our kids love going to a two week sleepover camp that is our biggest expenditure of the year...filled up--no joke--in OCTOBER of 2006. The grandparents take them camping for two weeks (thank you!). Then there are many daycamps to fill in the gaps but I still need either transportation or extended hours....We have a very good income now, but that first year I spent more on summer camps and daycare than I did on the mortgage.

A move to Arlington was the best help for Summer since it is the most incredible county for helping parents with this--reasonable programs and subsidies for low income. Transportation for many programs and after care. They even have camps the last week of summer before labor day! On top of that the kids absolutely loved the programs and now do academic stuff through the career center and summer school. The county even offers volunteer and paid jobs for teens. Arlington feels like Europe in the Summer! Thanks for helping me balance.

Posted by: newtoblog | March 16, 2007 8:36 AM

When my son is a little older, I will probably send him to a week long overnight camp over the summer. But more than that would be too much. Maybe not for him, but for me. I love the summer. I love going out for ice cream after dinner, and sitting in the back yard just talking while he catches fireflies. I love weekends at the pool, and lazy evening cook outs. I love that life is less pressured, that there is no homework, and that the days are long. Why on earth would I want to send my son away during the season that I most enjoy spending with him? As far as I'm concerned, day camps, along with one week away to help him foster some independence, are fine during the summer. But more time away from him would break my heart.

Posted by: Emily | March 16, 2007 8:38 AM

To 2terrificboys,
When I was a kid we lived in CT. My grandparents had a house on a lake in Maine. My uncle and his family had property on an adjoining lake (they slept in tents and used an outhouse).
My grandmother and my uncle both taught so they were off all summer.
My dad would take our family (mom and three kids, dog and cat) up to Maine right after school ended and stayed a week.
He would return to CT by himself and work for the rest of the summer while we had a blast.
A couple of weeks before school started he would come up for another week then take us all back for school.
Some of my best childhood memories are of those summers.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 8:39 AM

Jen,

Yes I was 3 went I went to a farm, but the big incentive was that the farm had things I didn't have at home. Animals, warm loving people, a big ole swimming hole. Fields to run in.

My mother is the type that spends a lot of time looking in the mirror, primping and checking out her Junior League schedule. Everything about her is cold, stiff, and calculated (including her prayers).

It's no surprise that I was happy anyplace that didn't include her phony, fake self.

Kids are pretty good at sniffing out hypocrites.

Posted by: smurfette | March 16, 2007 8:39 AM

In my case I spent a lot of time in the summer at the grand parents house near the water. I got out of the city and made different, and better, friends for the summer. Which was great since my city friends were a bit rough around the edges.

My child has gone to camp for at least two weeks a summer since he was 9. This summer he goes away for four weeks. He, and we, like the break. It exposes him to many different types of people. He has to work out differences with people on his own. It makes him more mature. I think kids need the break from the parents.

Posted by: JCW | March 16, 2007 8:39 AM

"Anyone have long-term experience with one parent taking the kids somewhere, say to grandpa's house at the beach, for the summer while the other parent says home to work and drives to join the family on the weekends?"

Yes, it's been going on for decades in NYC. It's called "Daddy has a summer fling while the wife and kiddies go out of town"!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:43 AM


NewSAHM, Just FYI, if you're in Wake County and have a few minutes to visit the WCPSS website, take a look at the 4 tracks for year-round schools.

http://www.wcpss.net/Calendars/2007-08/07-08-year-round.pdf

All 4 tracks have several weeks off in the summer for extended sleep-away camps and visits for relatives.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 16, 2007 8:44 AM

To 8:30:
I went to religious camps for one week per summer when I was 12-16 - although I'm not religious now, I think it was a good experience. My very religious and strict parents would not have been comfortable sending me away to a non-religious camp, so it was the only way for me to get a little independence. Of course the camp emphasized religious themes, but was mostly outdoor stuff like other camps. But maybe it was less religious that others, I dunno.

Posted by: Sticky | March 16, 2007 8:44 AM

"But more time away from him would break my heart."

Cut the apron strings or you're going to raise a big time mamma's boy who won't be able to make it on his own.

Posted by: to Emily | March 16, 2007 8:46 AM

Sticky

How long ago did you go to camp?

Have you seen the film "Jesus Camp"?

Pretty scary stuff.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:46 AM

"we've found 2 traditional away camps accessible from the DC area that also have "family camp". Mom, Dad and kids go together for anywhere from a long weekend to 10 days. We're hoping to try it for a long weekend in Sept. Seems like a great way to introduce younger kids to the camp experience, while sharing something that I loved as a child."

We've been doing a family camp for the last two years and it has been a wonderful experience for all of us. It's great for younger kids to have day-camp activities during the day and then have all the families spend time together in the afternoon/evening.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 16, 2007 8:47 AM

"Cut the apron strings or you're going to raise a big time mamma's boy who won't be able to make it on his own."

Bite me.

Posted by: Emily | March 16, 2007 8:47 AM

"IMHO, all day school plus aftercare vs. all day camp and/or a week or two away (camp, family) doesnt equal "parental outsourcing.""

Yes, many families need two incomes and place their children in daycare, aftercare and summer camp. However, that doesn't change the fact that they're outsourcing their parenting. Someone else is still raising their children most of the time.

As for summer camp. A few weeks could be considered balanced. But all or most of the summer is outsourcing, not balance.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:49 AM

"When my son is a little older, I will probably send him to a week long overnight camp over the summer. But more than that would be too much. Maybe not for him, but for me"

That's right, it's all about what would be too much for you, you, you!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:50 AM

I'm glad my sister and I frequently split summer vacation between both sets of grandparents in South India.

It gave us great memories - everything from exploring a rambling large place when the household shut down for siesta to hanging out in the kitchen and watching lunch being prepared the old fashioned way for a joint family of 12 people. The latter is the only reason I know how to make certain meals from scratch. They're now my comfort foods.

In my case, it's also probably the only reason I can do any math and write well in two languages. Because my retired grandparents had nothing to do but make sure a lazy child didn't get rusty from May 15 to whenever in the absence of regular homework and the presence of uninterrupted dress-up!

Last but not least, my family travelled for my dad's job, we lived places where my mom couldn't drive much less work, and I'm sure the 8 weeks* we were gone were the only break she got. As we got older, it's also probably the only break two girls got from their mom - not a bad thing when you're both girls are in their teens.

Would they do that had we lived in the US and where my mom would undoubtedly have been able to work? Dunno. I suspect we'd still have been packed off to the grandparents - who we now absolutely treasure. That's not impossible if you only see Grandma for a couple of weekends a year, but there's probably more room for it over 4 to 8 weeks.

Them's my two cents.

(* 8 weeks because we were in the Indian school system where summer vacation isn't as long as in the U.S.)

Posted by: Mommy in Vienna | March 16, 2007 8:51 AM

After raising my own family, I'm not sure I would want to take full responsibility of my grandchildren for several weeks either.


Posted by: to anon today | March 16, 2007 07:59 AM


Nice family values, to anon today.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:52 AM

Went to camp in the '80's. I haven't seen Jesus Camp yet, but I'm assuming it covers a very specific kind of camp. Not all religious camps (or religions) are the same of course. The one I went to was pretty mild, but still gave my parents confidence that the activities and kids' behavior would be pretty consistent with their values. (So mild, I guess, that it didn't take with me as an adult. Indoctrination failed, I guess.)

Posted by: Sticky | March 16, 2007 8:52 AM

How old depends on the kid and where you plan on sending the kids. Eight weeks at a sleep over camp sounds a bit excessive to me. I spent four weeks at summer camp as a teen, had a lovely time but otherwise enjoyed the rest of my summer in un-scheduled bliss.

As for grandparents, my opinion is this.
Our parents have already raised their children. Grandkids are their reward. Grandparents should only be required to enjoy their grandkids, not spend time raising them. A couple of days is all I would ever dream of imposing on my parents or in-laws. Two to three days would, imo, be sufficient time for me any my spouse to have a "break" from the kiddos.

Posted by: LM in WI | March 16, 2007 8:55 AM

"However, that doesn't change the fact that they're outsourcing their parenting. Someone else is still raising their children most of the time."

Does it make a difference if my son attends only Bible camp and missionary training camp?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:55 AM

To 8:30:

The only summer camp I went to was a religious one and the one I went to was not all about hell, fire and brimstone. It was for a week spend the night style. Like Sticky's experience, yes, there were religious themes during the week but we did outdoor activities like archery, swimming, hiking, etc. We also had arts and crafts. As a child it was a lot of fun having "night swims." This was the only camp I went to since there are five kids in my family. Our church footed the bill. Going to camp was the highlight of my summer.

Posted by: Meredith | March 16, 2007 8:56 AM

My oldest went to sleepaway camp last year for 1 week, at 9, her first time. They were in platform tents, 4 kids each. She went largely because some best friends were going, and by each friend requesting another in a cycle, they had for their tent a group of 4 friends from the same school, 2 of which were her day-to-day best friends. This was very nice as it was an extended shared bonding experience (though they each chose their own activities and they didn't overlap 100%) and the company at bedtime was very friendly and familiar. And now there's a greater closeness/common song- and experience-base between the girls. And the setting (Georgia mountains, with a large shallow stream with swimming hole) was beautiful.

She mostly loved camp. She was a little surprised how slow the mail was (while we mailed letters to her ahead of time, she got increasingly mad in her letters that we 'still' hadn't sent her the swim goggles which she forgot and asked us to send in her first letter). We only got one letter from her before we picked her up. She seemed to have one slightly homesick day, a rainy day when her horseback session got cancelled. Funny, since her letters were so delayed, she ran out to the mailbox, intercepted the letter she wrote us that day, and 'censored' it --- blacked out the comments she wrote when she was homesick and not wanting to return ;-)

She wants to go back this year. She'd ideally want to go longer, 2 weeks this year. But her 7yo little sister is begging to go, it's her top priority for the summer (the camp starts with 7yo). She's argued "Mom, think of all the work you can get done if we *both* go to camp!" and "Hey, you guys could have a honeymoon!" (not sure where she's heard about honeymoons . . .) She's counting down the days til summer so she can go to camp, she mentions it every day. So we will probably send both girls together to a 1-week session (not in the same tent, with the age difference, but the older sister would be around for occasional support, and it looks like 2 of my youngest's fellow Brownies and classmates have been talking about going to this camp this summer too, so I should get cracking and arrange a nice familiar tent for her). It's a great camp, formerly a Girl Scout camp but long ago privatized with a very loyal counselor base . . . but a bit expensive . . . ($600 one week, $1200/two, about 2-3 times the rate for the GS camps around here; 3 times the rate of a weekly day camp. It's definitely a luxury/indulgence.)

Posted by: KB | March 16, 2007 8:56 AM

Let's see, Leslie. Both you and your husband did the away-from-home camp and survived, but you can't do the same thing for your kids? Hmm, sounds a little silly to me. God knows how you're going to handle college. Maybe you'll be one of those awful helicopter parents who calls their kids three times a day and won't let their kids GO.

Posted by: Ryan | March 16, 2007 8:56 AM

foamgnome wrote: "day camps (which seem like glorified day cares or sports lessons)."

If I remember correctly, your DD is still very young (2-4?), so this answer is predicated on that assumption (and we all know the problem with those!). Anyway, DS#1's day camps have, until this summer, basically been an extension of his montessori preschool. We deliberately chose a preschool based camp to avoid the "glorified daycare" issue. That said, there aren't a lot of options for children under 3, so that may be what you're experiencing. The array of choices really opens up at 3 or 4 here in the DC area.

This summer, DS#1 will be going to a day camp that really works hard to be like what I think of as a traditional camp: outdoor swimming every day, horseback riding 1-2x/wk, sports, crafts, and all those crazy camp games (e.g., capture the flag). It's also right smack in the middle of suburban NoVa (Fairfax County).

I guess my point is that there are sooo many kinds of camp that it really makes a difference if one can afford the time to the research. (DH thought I was crazy for attending a "Camp Expo" at the mall in the beginning of January!)

Best of luck finding a great camp for your DD.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:56 AM

. And my kids are exquisitely well behaved

What are you smoking?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:58 AM

Emily: I know exactly what you are saying and I balance the time away with leaving work early when I can/leaving at 5 the rest of the time/lots of lazing around time on weekends and summer holidays (4th of July, memorial day/labor day.) Even working full time, you can have lots of lazy summer moments with your kids. We walk/bike to the neighborhood boat dock and fish. Sadly, although we live near the beach, we try to go to the beach/boardwalk only in May/September (full summer months are a nightmare/too crowded.)

But my kids also want time away/time with their grandparents/new camps and possible new friends. So it works out well.

Jessker

Posted by: jessker 17 | March 16, 2007 8:58 AM

Stop already with the ignorant slamming of religious camps. It only shows how narrow your experience has been to assume all religious camps are like a single documentary movie. Do you think all criminals look like George Clooney, and his buddies in Ocean's Eleven?

Why is it that as soon as someone mentions religion, you jump to making derogatory statements lumping in the beliefs and camps of Episcopalians, Methodists, Pentecostals, Catholics, and Quakers with other non-denominational religious groups?

Some religious camps are more conservative and devote more time to religious themes, than others. Many have religion only as a scant backdrop, like YMCA camps where there's a bible verse on the wall in the gym but no one EVER mentions God at all. All religious camps aren't right for everyone, but then all non-religious camps aren't right for all kids either.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 8:59 AM

After raising my own family, I'm not sure I would want to take full responsibility of my grandchildren for several weeks either.

Nice family values, to anon today.

Gee, I was 35 when I had my second daughter. If she has a child at 28, I will be 71 when my grandchild is 8. Just being realistic here. I have great family values, IMO, but I don't think I want to take care of children for weeks on end in my 70's.

I wonder how old you are. I'm 51, and already I can see how much less energy I have than in my 30's and 40's.

Posted by: Anon today | March 16, 2007 9:00 AM

"After raising my own family, I'm not sure I would want to take full responsibility of my grandchildren for several weeks either.
Posted by: to anon today | March 16, 2007 07:59 AM
Nice family values, to anon today"

Land's sakes! Talk about a life sentence! Do you really expect the free babysitting to go on as long as I am alive?

Are my great grandchildren going to show up at my nursing home in the summer?

Enough already.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:03 AM

Emily - I'm with you on this. It has nothing to do with being mama's boys/girls or being independent. My older kids have gone to camp (4H camp and band camp) for a week for a few summers now. They have had a blast. But even if we could afford to have them go for longer than that, I'm really wondering what the point is except to get them out of your hair for a longer period of time. There are plenty of enriching summer experiences where they can build independence right here in our town where they can also spend time with their family - time they don't get during the school year when their time is filled with school, homework, school events, practicing band instruments, and extracurriculars.

"She admitted to me when I was an adult, she did not really miss us at all. Even though that is tough to say, I can understand if I was a SAHM, it would be nice to have a break time. "

Foamgnome - I think it's sad that your mom felt this way. :o( "A break" should be a Saturday of shopping, lunch, and having your hair done. It shouldn't be *eight weeks* of child free time.

Posted by: momof4 | March 16, 2007 9:05 AM

I went away to camp for as long as two weeks when I was about 10. I loved it, but I'm in no rush to send my kids away at this point. My oldest is just 6. We'll probably do some kind of day camp for a week this summer. I can see my parents volunteering to take my kids for a week or two beginning in a couple years.

Once they're old enough to do real work, we may be able to send them to spend a week or two at the farm my MIL grew up on (dh's uncle has it now, and he seems to approve of how we're raising our kids). I think that would be a priceless experience.

I know that kids do stupid things at camp, and thats part of the experience, but I worry that there seem to be more messed up kids around now, and so the stupid things might not be as innocent. How do you figure out if there's enough/appropriate supervision at a sleepaway camp?

Posted by: YetAnotherSAHM | March 16, 2007 9:06 AM

"Anyone have long-term experience with one parent taking the kids somewhere, say to grandpa's house at the beach, for the summer while the other parent says home to work and drives to join the family on the weekends?"

Yes, it's been going on for decades in NYC. It's called "Daddy has a summer fling while the wife and kiddies go out of town"!


Posted by: | March 16, 2007 08:43 AM


Well, now we know what kind of scuzz-ball you are!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:07 AM

The jewish camps hardly have anything about fire and brimstone *smirk*. I think it will be great for the kids aand I for one will probably send the rugrats to one if we find one we love, which is a high probability. It is great to have a religious experience in nature, celebrating shabbat in the woods, etc. No talk of jesus there.

Posted by: atlmom | March 16, 2007 9:07 AM

I think if my kids were really ready and and wanted to do this and I found a great overnight camp with good safety record, the I would do it. It probably would be the most expensive camp in the world! I think that it is a great experience for teenagers and helps them to mature. As for parents, we would miss our kids terribly but then they need to grow up, don't they?

P.S. I really don't understand the "outsourcing parenting" argument. How can I teach my kids everything they need to know without hiring teachers to do so? How is that outsourcing if the kids go to a camp where they have fun? Is education outsourcing too? I would rather them learn math and science in school than from me :-)

Posted by: bethesda mom | March 16, 2007 9:07 AM

to anon at 8:49

No, we raise our kids. They spend time away from us (school/family/camp/daycare.) But we are always the parents.

Do you think when kids are in school full-time and do sports/activities after school that the teachers/coaches are raising the kids? Or is your bashing limited to parents of younger kids who work (for whatever reason)?

Jessker

Posted by: jessker 18 | March 16, 2007 9:09 AM

WOH because we have to for a variety of reasons, personal fulfillment, financial, to keep job skills for the future, security in case of loss of spouse.

Throw in children and we have all the child-related responsibilities on top of work and home responsibilities. Love, guide, nurture, educate them, be sure to save for that college education.

30-40 years of work and school for ourselves before retirement, and then we are supposed to forget everything we have worked for to be available to give those same kids a break by babysitting for weeks on end? I say, fine if that's what you want, but realistic short visits and regular involvement (whether that be daily, weekly, or monthly) in your grandchildren's lives should be enough. And any grown child who resents their parents for not "taking their kids off their hands" for weeks at a time is completely unreasonable.

Posted by: Women today | March 16, 2007 9:12 AM

DD gets two camps a summer - one a church related camp, one week long, the other an Audubon Society sponsored ecology camp (also a week long). She has more friends from those than I had my entire childhood! It's great for her.

I wish I'd had the opportunities DD has when I was a kid - she's a lucky one. :-)

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | March 16, 2007 9:13 AM

atlmom,
You have a great sense of humor!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 9:14 AM

And my kids are exquisitely well behaved

What are you smoking?

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 08:58 AM


This certainly tells us something about 8:58's values, and it's not good.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:15 AM

Foamgnome,

The day camp options definitely get more enriched as your kids get older (at least here in Atlanta, I'd expect a dense area like DC and suburbs would as well).

My kids' favorites have been: Circus camp (learning juggling, acrobatics, etc, with a final performance); Arts camps (day usually split between 2-4 artistic media --- pottery, clay, paint, pastels, etc; with a final portfolio viewing party); Horse camp (you guessed it, final show riding in the ring; this day camp is so hot and dusty but they love it); Soccer camp; Drama camp. Our main problem is the youngest impatiently waiting to age into the exciting camps her sister goes to . . . she counted down eagerly for both Circus Camp (age 5) and Horse Camp (age 6) . . . the plight of the little sister . . . (as you can see from my earlier post, this year the countdown is for sleepaway camp, it's always something ;-) )


Posted by: KB | March 16, 2007 9:17 AM

"So who moved 3000 miles away? Can't really blame your parents for lack of relationship if you were the one who put the children so far away. After raising my own family, I'm not sure I would want to take full responsibility of my grandchildren for several weeks either."

My parents moved 3,000 miles away. They lived only a few hundred before. They moved closer to my sister and her kids stay the weekend many times a year. It's their issue--they chose to move and even if I did, what is your point?


Posted by: to to anon today | March 16, 2007 9:18 AM

"After raising my own family, I'm not sure I would want to take full responsibility of my grandchildren for several weeks either.
Posted by: to anon today | March 16, 2007 07:59 AM
Nice family values, to anon today"

Land's sakes! Talk about a life sentence!


Maybe people who consider their families a life sentence should reconsider having kids in the first place.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:18 AM

"Anyone have long-term experience with one parent taking the kids somewhere, say to grandpa's house at the beach, for the summer while the other parent says home to work and drives to join the family on the weekends?"

"Yes, it's been going on for decades in NYC. It's called "Daddy has a summer fling while the wife and kiddies go out of town"!

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 08:43 AM


Well, now we know what kind of scuzz-ball you are!"

You are confused. The cheating dads are the scuzz-balls, not me.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:19 AM


And my kids are exquisitely well behaved

What are you smoking?

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 08:58 AM


This certainly tells us something about 8:58's values, and it's not good.


Nope, don't smoke anything at all. But anyone who believes that their children behave "exquisitely" at all times are living by a river in Egypt.

Posted by: 8:58 | March 16, 2007 9:20 AM

I was a CIT (counselor in training) and a counselor for one co-ed secular camp and two religious camps in the Northeast. By FAR, the kids who went to the religious camp were more out of control and horny like you would not believe. I chalked it up to the forbidden fruit thing, but believe me that we counselors did not get a lot of sleep as we had to patrol the camp virtually 24-7 to ensure single sex cabins stayed that way and that the kids didn't find their way into the bushes. Not that it didn't happen at the secular camp, but a lot less. I was totally shocked. Your little Christian teenagers and tweens are not as innocent as you'd think!

Posted by: Former CIT | March 16, 2007 9:23 AM

"Nope, don't smoke anything at all. But anyone who believes that their children behave "exquisitely" at all times are living by a river in Egypt."

Stopped smoking weed in the late '60s.

My daughter is generally well behaved with a sweet personality, but she can get on a person's nerves. I limit her visits to relatives to a week, something about fish?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:24 AM

Snow is predicted in the DC area tonight. and I'm daydreaming about summer. Ain't that special?

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 16, 2007 9:26 AM

Two income family here, so my kids have always gone to the same summer day camp. This year, though, they are both taking two weeks to attend the cub scout and girl scout camp. Still a day camp, but I thought it would be a good experience to meet new kids and experience new things. The girl scout camp has one overnight night. She can stay as long as she wants, and come home, or stay the night. If they stick with scouts, I will look into a week long camp for them. I went to a few camps as a kid, and while I don't really remember specifics, I do remember that they were fun.

I did have my kids spend a few days at a relativess farm. As repayment, her kids came here to spend a few days in the city. My younger dd did fine. My older ds did not do so well. He had difficulty adjusting to the changes - sleeping arrangements, food selection, and is generally not as easy going as dd. I had a feeling that would happen, but thought I should give him a chance.

Has anyone else had a bad experience?

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 16, 2007 9:26 AM

"He had difficulty adjusting to the changes - sleeping arrangements, food selection, and is generally not as easy going as dd."

This is one of the reasons I sent my kids to camp - so they could learn how to adapt to a new environment.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:30 AM

Gee, how does a blog about kid's summer become so nasty?

In my early post, I stated that my kids are exquisitely well behaved. They are---feedback from teachers, family members and everyone else. So who is anyone, especially an anonymous troll, to doubt anything anyone states about their own life.

With regard to grandparents--many enjoy their grandchildren. Many have become their grandchildren's primary caretakers as a necessity. That is not what I've been talking about. I'm talking about perhaps babysitting once or twice a year while my husband and I go to a movie (my mother has refused) or to allow my school age children to visit for 1-2 weeks. I think my mother is pathetic and she'll reap what she sows. Despite my efforts, my children do not know her very well and their relationship is rather cold. It's my mother's doing. YOu would think that when they chose to move 3,000 miles they would have made more of an effort. They NEVER call to talk to the kids---just me. When I become a grandparent, I will make every effort to create a relationship and spend as much time as I can with them. That's what families do.

Posted by: anon today | March 16, 2007 9:33 AM

To Women today:

Well said. My mom is older, and she and my dad raised a big family. She loves her alone time now to read, do crosswords, etc. She does live a long plane ride away (her choice), and my kids are pretty young so we haven't gone to visit her yet. She has visited us about once a year, and when she visits she is a guest in our home; I don't expect her to pitch in. She loves to read to the kids (and they love snuggling with her while she does it!). She's been kind enough to babysit occasionally while visiting so I could go to a drs. appt. or DH and I could have a dinner out after putting the kids to bed.

I've been thankful for the help while but would not expect it.

Posted by: Marian | March 16, 2007 9:34 AM

Oh boy! Had a lot of sexual firsts at Bible camp!

Ah, the memories of spiked bug juice!

Posted by: YAY! | March 16, 2007 9:35 AM

"Maybe people who consider their families a life sentence should reconsider having kids in the first place"

I would have reconsidered if I had also known I was going to be trapped in a spirit crushing, soul sucking,loveless marriage for more than 20 years for the sake of the kids.


You don't make the rules.(Thank God)

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:35 AM

Is Bible camp anything like Band camp?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:37 AM

"However, my husband went to eight weeks of sleepaway camp starting when he was seven."

WOW is all I have to say.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:39 AM

"With regard to grandparents--many enjoy their grandchildren. Many have become their grandchildren's primary caretakers as a necessity"

And some do not. Whatever the reason, they are GRAND parents, not parents and don't have the same duties and responsibilites as parents and they don't have to live up to other's expectations.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:40 AM

Thanks KLB.

Being from the north, each camp would have its own bus system, and would pick kids up at the house. Mom didn't have to drive all over creation and it didn't add to traffic. In atlanta, they don't do that and I feel guilty that we are choosing day camps that we can drive to easily, or that are easier for us (we did choose a camp that ends at 4 tho, assumning we can replace the nanny). I'm sure my 5 YO will be fine wherever, but I do wish we had more drive friendly/traffic friendly options.

Posted by: atlmom | March 16, 2007 9:45 AM

Proximity to grandparents doesn't automatically mean that you will have built in babysitters. My parents live in the same town I do and are 82 and 76 years old. They occasionally (maybe 1-2 times a year) babysat for me when my older ones were younger but I haven't asked them to do so in years because I don't think it's fair to them because of their age. My brother and sil, on the other hand, leave their children with them quite often, including overnight. My parents don't seem to mind but I think it's a problem, especially since they do have other options for childcare.

My point is that my children still have a relationship with them. We just visit them *together* or they stop by our house to chat. We camp with them in the summer. We spend holidays together.

If you're upset that your parents moved far from you, then invite them to visit you or go to visit them and spend time with them along with your children. Don't ask "can you come out to visit so John and I can go away for the weekend?" Don't go to visit them and then ask if you can leave the kids with them while you go to a movie.

My ils moved about 1000 miles from us and when they visit, we want to see them just as much as our children do. We don't see their visits as a chance to have a free babysitter, but as a chance to spend time with my husband's parents whom we love and care about.

Posted by: momof4 | March 16, 2007 9:46 AM

Yes, 09:30 AM , that's what I was trying to do, too - help him learn to adjust. But, I think what happened instead was that he was yelled at for two days for not doing the things expected of him. And that made him more stubborn and less likely to adjust. Maybe a camp with experienced counselers would have helped him better. I dunno....

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 16, 2007 9:47 AM

"And some do not. Whatever the reason, they are GRAND parents, not parents and don't have the same duties and responsibilites as parents and they don't have to live up to other's expectations."

Obviously you didn't read all that I wrote. I wasn't talking about the same duties and responsibilities as parents. I'm talking about grandparents who obviously do not want a relationship with their grandchildren. The children lose out. It's about developing relationships---babysitting once or twice a year or having the grandchildren at your house for 1-2 weeks during the summer is not parent duty.

I bet the same trolls who are writing about how grandparents shouldn't be expected to watch grandchildren are the same ones who are criticising parents for sending their kids to camp or to using babysitters to care for them while parents are at work. I have an idea, we can all stay home--no more people in the workforce.

Posted by: anon today | March 16, 2007 9:49 AM

I'm sending my 7 year old DD to summer camp for a week. She's begging to go. It is the traditional kind: it has horseback riding and archery and canoe -- she's dying to do it.

My boys aren't ready, and one of them is my daughter's twin! It's not age, it's disposition.

My parents are very young (my mother had me when she was 20, she's just 60 now). We live by them now, but are about to move far away. Likely my parents will take the children for a short time during the summer. Possibly my mom will come up and see us and take them for a week or so at our house during the summer. It is just a nice way to spend time with the grandparents, which you don't get back.

And as far as grandparents go, there is an age factor, I suppose -- but like camp and kids, I'd say it isn't the age, but the disposition. Some people age beautifully and, while it is tiring, never feel more energetic and alive than when caring for children. Others were never particularly cut out for it, and we become only MORE of what we were as we age, not less. All I can see is my mother running around the back yard with a water gun, chasing the boys, or sitting on the floor playing barbies with my daughter (of course, I have to help her get up!). My mother needs her aortic valve replaced, she would rather get winded running around than sit on her butt!! HER mother, my grandmother (80), also begs to have them come over to play. Standing on her toes to haul her up by both hands off the floor after board games with all my kids is one of those funny things I'll always remember about my own granny now.

I work too much. I need a more reasonable life so that I won't have to cobble together summers for them that involve so little down time. Down time is important, and I'm hoping that this particular move will give us more of that.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:52 AM

I went to sleepaway camp for 6 weeks every summer starting when I was 10. It was an amazing experience, and although I remember getting homesick a few times that first summer, I wouldn't have traded it for the world. I did, however, see campers as young as 6 and 7 who basically cried the whole summer. Each child is different, but that is awfully young. I think 9 or 10 is a good age.

I also spent at least 3 weeks each summer at my grandparents' beach house and LOVED it. I grew up extremely close to them, even though I only saw them summers and at Christmas. If given the choice, I'd send my kids to their grandparents over camp.

As another poster noted, however, grandparents are older, or are working longer. My mom still works and my parents-in-law have health problems. It breaks my heart that my kids may never have the experience I had, but I console myself with the thought that I can give that experience to their kids. Not much we can do about others' choices, but we do control our own!

Posted by: runnermom | March 16, 2007 9:53 AM

"But, I think what happened instead was that he was yelled at for two days for not doing the things expected of him. And that made him more stubborn and less likely to adjust. Maybe a camp with experienced counselers would have helped him better. I dunno..."

You did say cub scouts, right? I don't recall offhand how old cub scouts are, but maybe it's just an age/maturity thing, and he'll be ready to try again in another year or so. Some kids just take longer.

Posted by: Sticky | March 16, 2007 9:54 AM

To mom of four,
I have never considered my parents to be babysitters. I think they watched my daughter for 2 hours once. I have a nanny and we enjoy being with our children. But for my mother to declare that she won't ever be with my kids unless I am there to be ridiculous. My parents are "young" old, in good health and my father still works--part time. So this isn't "they're frail issue". We invite them to come all the time, but they choose to come when it is convenient only for them--and then complain when we have other things going on (work, kid's things). They're retired and more flexible so coming without regard to our availability is selfish.

So my situation is not what you think. I have selfish parents who are cold and always have been. I just feel sorry for my children who do not have the benefit of having a large, warm extended family.

Posted by: anon today | March 16, 2007 9:55 AM

"Gee, how does a blog about kid's summer become so nasty?"

Hee hee, check out the new guy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 9:56 AM

I remember going to my Grandparents house in Ohio at a very young age. There was a huge apple tree in the back yard that I could climb. The last time I visited their house, I was about 12 years old, and the apple tree was so small, I could reach the top branches of where, as a child, I used to climb up to.

What I remember most was the smells of the house. The pantry smelled like cinamin, the closets smelled like moth balls, a strong odor of leather came from Grandpa's dresser, the back patio smelled like honeysuckle, the garage like saw dust and oil, and the best part was the kitchen that always smelled like apple pie from Grandma's baking.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 16, 2007 9:56 AM

"My parents are "young" old, in good health and my father still works--part time. So this isn't "they're frail issue". We invite them to come all the time, but they choose to come when it is convenient only for them--and then complain when we have other things going on (work, kid's things). They're retired and more flexible so coming without regard to our availability is selfish."

My ils are also "young old" and aren't frail either, and they made the choice to move 1000 miles away from us. They're retired and have a great deal of flexibility, but they come to visit when it's good for them - why shouldn't they?? It's *their* life, not mine....they spent a great deal of that life raising my husband and his brother, and I have no problem with them doing *anything they want* in their retirement.

"But for my mother to declare that she won't ever be with my kids unless I am there to be ridiculous."

So what exactly is the problem with you spending time with your parents and kids together? Do you really think the only way your children will develop a relationship with their grandparents is to be left alone with them? Are you that overbearing that the relationship can't grow with you in the house?


Posted by: momof4 | March 16, 2007 10:01 AM

"It's about developing relationships---babysitting once or twice a year or having the grandchildren at your house for 1-2 weeks during the summer is not parent duty.

I bet the same trolls who are writing about how grandparents shouldn't be expected to watch grandchildren are the same ones who are criticising parents for sending their kids to camp or to using babysitters to care for them while parents are at work. I have an idea, we can all stay home--no more people in the workforce."

Actually, I guess I am one of those trolls because I don't think grandparents should be expected to babysit. BTW, I work full time, kids have gone to daycare, and my mother did babysit for me occasionally, such as school closed days or my wedding anniversary. I always told her that I would take off work if she wasn't interested or had other plans. She loved her grandchildren and had a great relationship with them. She offered to keep them overnight sometimes because she wanted to be with them. We only lived 20 miles apart so it was easy to see her. She would invite us over, and then once we got there, she would encourage me to "go shopping or something" so she could be with her GKs.

What she did is still a far cry from having them for 2 weeks at a time. But 2 weeks is closer to 'parent duty' than occasional babysitting.

Posted by: to anon today | March 16, 2007 10:01 AM

To 2terrificboys (and to anon at 9:07) -

I grew up in a beach town in Maine and all of the summer kids had daddies in Boston or NY who would arrive on Friday. There were special (more expensive) camps for them (we had local parks and rec) where they learned sailing, tennis, etc.

When I was in college, I taught swimming at both the local and summer kids day camps and was amazed at the difference. The summers all wore their Lilly and Ralph Lauren bathing suits and the mommies and kids all gossiped about whose dad was banging which secretary.

The local campers wore target shorts, played softball, and were blissfully ignorant of such adult behavior.

I grew close with many of the summer kids who'd return every year, and nearly all of their parents had divorced by the time we went to college.

Posted by: An outsider to summer society | March 16, 2007 10:02 AM

My daughter (13) has been going to overnight camp since she was 8, and LOVES it. She spends most of the winter looking forward to it. As much as she loves it, though, she says she would never go for more than 4 weeks. This upcoming summer she says she is "too old" for day camp, and just wants to "hang out" with her friends and be a "normal" teen. This makes me uneasy. We do belong to a pool that she could bike to, but that much unstructured time could be trouble. Any suggestions for the 14-15 crowd - too old for camp but too young to work?

Posted by: Loren | March 16, 2007 10:03 AM

So who is anyone, especially an anonymous troll, to doubt anything anyone states about their own life.

nope, not anon troll, 8:58.

If you think that this will always be true about the behaviour of your children, I suggest that you read Growing Up with you Children from 2 days ago and keep your eyes open. Read how many "good" and well behaved kids raised hell without the parent's knowledge.

Posted by: 8:58 | March 16, 2007 10:04 AM

"Actually, I guess I am one of those trolls because I don't think grandparents should be expected to babysit."

I interpreted anon today's comments totally differently - doesn't sound like specific babysitting expectations, but a hope that the grandparents would show some interest in their GKs. Babysitting might be one way to do that. I'm assuming there's a whole lot more to that relationship than anon today has posted here.

Posted by: Sticky | March 16, 2007 10:13 AM

Both my sons have been going to an 8-week traditional sleepaway camp in Maine since they were 10. This is my 15-year-old's last year there. My sons love living and playing with kids--all boys--their own age and cool counselors. They swim in a lake, canoe, learn archery, climb mountains, and just have good wholesome fun. They're there long enough to settle in and feel at home--and to make real friends. At camp, they can roam independently from field to cabin to supper in the dining hall. They write great letters home.
D.C. is hot in the summer and, be honest, it's not all about catching fireflies and bike riding. It's often about staying inside in air conditioning to avoid the swelter or driving to the malls. My kids really didn't like going to a patchwork of camps when they spent summers at home. They were never there long enough to make real friends and the commute there often made for a long, hot day.
We miss the boys during the summer and camp is expensive. But both boys appreciate the gift we gave them of living (safely) amid beautiful scenery and independence. They have a wonderful time and think kids who don't get to go to sleepaway camp are missing out.
We parents have to let go a little bit so our kids can learn on their own.

Posted by: campermom | March 16, 2007 10:16 AM

to Loren: does your daughter show any interest in babysitting? 13 is a good age to be a mother's helper...

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 16, 2007 10:16 AM

I would have LOVED to go to sleep away summer camp. I begged, but money was too tight.

I went to day camp from first grade until 5th. 6th on I was home by myself. I took pottery classes and art classes, but nothing all day, everyday. I got a job when I started driving at 16, but only part time.

I smoked and watched soap operas all day from age 12-18. Not good.

I shoudl have gone to a camp for older kids until I was 16.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 10:19 AM

I wonder if fewer children went away to camp during summer 2002 than 2001? I know that I didn't want my children more than an hour away for quite a while after 9/11.

Posted by: just wondering | March 16, 2007 10:21 AM

Folks without children are people, too. We can remain in the workforce.

Posted by: to: anon today | March 16, 2007 10:25 AM

"Any suggestions for the 14-15 crowd - too old for camp but too young to work?"

Volunteer work, a summer sport (swim team, softball, tennis), classes (art, music), the library? And 14-15 year olds are not necessarily too young to work - there's berry picking, lifeguarding (15 year olds), babysitting (the mothers helper idea was a good one), yardwork, housecleaning. My son worked last summer at age 14 for Parks and Rec on their youth corp - they hire 14-16 year olds to work in their daycamps and doing park maintence work.

She wouldn't have to be "structured" for 8 hours a day every day, but you could find some structured/supervised activities and leave her time to go to the pool and hang out with her friends.

Posted by: momof4 | March 16, 2007 10:26 AM

During college, I work at an academic summer program for high schoolers. The kids were more apt to spend their free time with a Rubik's Cube rather than hiking, but for most, those three weeks represnted the time of their lives. At last, the nerdlets were amongst their own. We had kids as young as 10 attending our programs and perhaps it was because we were on a university campus, but they seemed extraordinarily young. Staff had to escort them everywhere. I had built in restroom pit stops into my group's routine (for example, we always went before AND after a meal!) These camps are expensive, but for the parents of the highly gifted, I think they are an investment in their children's intellectual AND social growth.


Posted by: DC yuppie | March 16, 2007 10:26 AM

"So what exactly is the problem with you spending time with your parents and kids together? Do you really think the only way your children will develop a relationship with their grandparents is to be left alone with them? Are you that overbearing that the relationship can't grow with you in the house?"

When my mother declared the above, I hadn't asked her to be along with the kids or ever asked her to babysit. She frequently dumped us off on her mother (which was great--loved my grandmother), but she decided she was going to make this declaration even though she wasn't asked.

And I have spent plenty of time with my parents with my children. My mother is a selfish unfeeling person. I had surgery soon after giving birth to my daughter but insisted on going out to eat for every meal and she got upset when I tried to bow out (sitting in a restaurant post surgery was not my idea of a good time).

And a writer above is right--there is nothing wrong with spending some time with family without other family members there. My mother's concern was god forbid a diaper needed to be changed (she never did this for either of my kids, I never asked) or one needed to be fed. She was a lazy mother and an even lazier grandmother. Why are people defending her?

I have plenty of friends with warm and caring parents who relish their time with their grandchildren. Why is it such a crime to want this for my children too?

Posted by: anon today | March 16, 2007 10:27 AM

"If you think that this will always be true about the behaviour of your children, I suggest that you read Growing Up with you Children from 2 days ago and keep your eyes open. Read how many "good" and well behaved kids raised hell without the parent's knowledge."

My children are not perfect, but one is a teen another school age so they've had plenty of time to mess up and haven't. I couldn't ask for kids with easier dispositions and nicer people. I expect that the teen years can be a problem, but so far they have their heads on straight, haven't succumbed to peer pressures and are happy people. To expect that that will change is ridiculous. Not all kids are awful.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 10:30 AM

"Folks without children are people, too. We can remain in the workforce."

I don't get it, what's your point? I was talking about retirement aged persons not working age people.

Posted by: to to anon today | March 16, 2007 10:33 AM

DC Yuppie, I went to one of these "Nerd Camps" when I was an early teen. Some of the best times of my life, and I still have strong friendships from the camp.

Here's an interesting article about it from Slate. http://www.slate.com/id/2146134

The essential paragraph from the article: "Everyone seemed very smart. But what I remember is less the hum of the quadratic equation in the air--though there was plenty of that--than the sense of relief at finally being in a place where people felt, in some sense, normal. It was a place where kids could be cool without having to downplay their interests."

Posted by: Nerdlet | March 16, 2007 10:33 AM

You're talking about CYT! It is a great program. My teen loves it. They do have scholarships for kids who qualify, but can't affort it.

Posted by: to DC yuppie | March 16, 2007 10:35 AM

anon today:

I'm not necessarily defending your mother, but just responding to the idea that a grandparent should have to take their grandchildren for 2 weeks in the summer and babysit for smaller amounts of time in between in order to have a relationship with the grandchildren. You kept saying that your children are missing out on a relationship because your parents won't take them for 2 weeks or babysit while you go out to a movie. And my point was that the relationship can still exist even without the babysitting. It sounds like your children don't have a close relationship with your parents for reasons completely independent of not spending time alone with them. And also - making the choice to live thousands of miles away and visit on their terms doesn't necessarily mean that they're selfish. They might be selfish, but I don't think that those decisions on their own mean selfishness.

Out of curiosity, why are you anonymous today? I understand not wanting to be attacked but a) you have been attacked anyway ;o) and b) if you are at peace with your feelings on the subject and don't think you should change those feelings, why should it matter if we know who you are?

Posted by: momof4 | March 16, 2007 10:35 AM

You are so right--that paragraph says it all. My kid feels so at home there--he can be himself. Its so nice to hear positives from a former attendee.

Posted by: To nerdlet | March 16, 2007 10:37 AM

To the person who asked about supervision at camp, I can only speak about my experiences.

The kids stay in a cabin of 8. There is one senior counselor, one junior counselor, and one CIT. The kids go to all the meals and group acitivites (camp-outs, productions) together with the counsleors. The only time they are alone iis when they're walking to classes (I think 6 a day). The counselors walk some kids to classes if they're all the way across camp. And counselors have a list of campers in each class, so if one is missing they look for them. The kids in mini-camp (8) are together all day. The kids in senior village (13 and 14) have more unstructured time.

In general, it's really safe.

Posted by: Meesh | March 16, 2007 10:38 AM

My 14 yr old daughter goes on a 2 week sailing trip where she with other crew members actually do the work of getting boat from MD to MA. This was last year and I am sure she will be doing it again this year. She loved it!

My 4 year old goes to see his nana in NC the last 2 weeks of August.

Posted by: 2xmami | March 16, 2007 10:40 AM

"You kept saying that your children are missing out on a relationship because your parents won't take them for 2 weeks or babysit while you go out to a movie."

That's not quite what I said--it's what people are reading into it. By moving 3,000 miles away and then not wanting to spend time getting to know their grandchildren, my parents demonstrate to me and my children that they are not interested in their grandchildren. Even when we visit them--they'll watch a ball game instead of interacting with us. My kids notice this and I think it is hurtful. Also, most people I know have parents who love to spend time with their grandchildren. It's not such an odd concept. In fact, I think it is the more common thing.

And the blog brought up sending kids to the grandparents. For us, it would have to be for more than a couple of days b/c it's so far away. Two weeks is a random number.

Posted by: To momoffour | March 16, 2007 10:42 AM

To expect that that will change is ridiculous. Not all kids are awful.

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 10:30 AM

I never said that all kids were awful. I said to keep your eyes open. But also you admit to yourself that your kids are not "exquisite" all the time.

I was the goody-goody in my family, to this day my siblings kid me about being so good growing up. I know different, my parents do not.

Posted by: 8:58 | March 16, 2007 10:44 AM

"And my point was that the relationship can still exist even without the babysitting."

Grandparents and other adult relatives develop a different relationship with a child when they are together for extended periods of time without parental involvement. The child turns to the grandparent or other relative for needs otherwise typically met by her parents. True relationships blossom because there's no filter and no parent jumping in to meet certain needs or to impose rules from home on the relationship.

One example. When my daughter visits her aunts for a week each summer, she stays up late with them and watches Murder She Wrote every night. It's very naughty because she's up late, eating unhealthy snacks, and it's not programming we would permit her to see at our house. It's her little secret experience with her 70 year old aunts and they both treasure it immensely. If I were there, the illicit fun would be gone.

Yes, kids can have relationships with grandparents without staying overnight or being without a parent, but the relationship that develops isn't nearly as close as the relationship between kids and relatives with whom they have extended, non-parentally-supervised time.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 10:48 AM

If there is one thing this blog proves, it that opinions are like @$$holes, everyone has one, most really stink.

It is amazing to see how snarky and judgmental some folks can be about summer plans for the kids. Kudos to those of you with helpful, productive comments.

Posted by: Anon For A Minute | March 16, 2007 10:48 AM

"My mother's concern was god forbid a diaper needed to be changed (she never did this for either of my kids, I never asked) or one needed to be fed. She was a lazy mother and an even lazier grandmother. Why are people defending her?

I have plenty of friends with warm and caring parents who relish their time with their grandchildren. Why is it such a crime to want this for my children too?"

It is not a crime to want this for your children. But what good will it do to want it? You have a certain relationship with your mother, and obviously, this will impact your children. You are not going to change your parents, and lamenting the situation isn't going to do a lot of good either. You just have to accept your parents for what they are and take whatever positive things you can from it. I can tell you this. Your children will pick up on it if you feel that somehow, their grandparents love them less than they should. If the grandparents don't want to babysit, they shouldn't have to. It sounds like they still visit your family. and and you can still see that time as positive if you are not holding on to a grudge because they won't babysit. Your children will see this in whatever light you give it.

Posted by: Emily | March 16, 2007 10:55 AM

My grandparents preferred to have us one at a time, rather than the three of us at once. One set preferred to take us on special trips or activities. When my brother was 7, they took him and my older cousins to a dude ranch in Montana. I, at 5, was deemed to little to go (I was so disappointed!), so they instituted the tradition of taking each grandchild to Disney when they were 5. At older ages, we took other trips. I think it was really important to have the one-on-one time (we also saw them with the whole family, but to have real alone time without even the siblings along made you feel really special and like they really wanted to have a relationship with you personally.) I will, say, though, that the one time they agreed to take all three of us for 2 weeks one summer so my parents could go on vacation without us, they did require my parents to also hire a babysitter, which my parents thought was totally reasonable. So maybe people can foster relationships with grandparents by giving them time with only 1 child at a time, rather than sending all of them together. It also did help that we usually went somewhere or did some kid-appropriate activity with them, so we weren't just sitting around their house bored.

Posted by: MWA | March 16, 2007 10:57 AM

It is amazing to see how perfect some people's children are but yet how horrible their parents are.

Posted by: Snarky Today | March 16, 2007 11:00 AM

"Out of curiosity, why are you anonymous today? I understand not wanting to be attacked but a) you have been attacked anyway ;o) and b) if you are at peace with your feelings on the subject and don't think you should change those feelings, why should it matter if we know who you are?"

I'm not the person who you are addressing, but I've posted anonymously at times on this and other blogs. There are various reasons why I or someone else might do that. Here are two:

1. As most bloggers understand, a moniker tend to develop a "personality" that might reflect only part of the personality of the full human being who uses the moniker. It just kind of happens that way. It's natural. So when I have a moniker and have been in a rut of posting similar sorts of things, and want to try something new and fresh, I might post anonymously. Depending how the post goes, that kind of thing might develop into a new moniker, or it might not.

I don't think you can say that using multiple monikers for different aspects of your personality is morally wrong, because one reason people choose to do this is to safeguard themselves against ID.

2. When I am new to a blog, I might post anonymously until I decide if I want to commit to hanging around. If I like the blog after participating anonymously, then I will introduce myself. This isn't the same as trolling, it is just testing the waters.

I don't think you can say this is wrong either, it's just someone new taking their time to join in fully.


In general, it is better to assume people have reasons for doing what they do, other than "because they're a jerk." Very often, there is a perfectly good reason, and the person being judgmental just didn't have all the information.

Posted by: sdfsdfsdfsdf | March 16, 2007 11:01 AM

"Any suggestions for the 14-15 crowd - too old for camp but too young to work?"

I disagree that 14 - 15 is too old for camp, as long as you avoid the word, "camp". Many technology, math, art, and sports camps for this age are fun, tend to be self-directed and less structured and permit teens to hang with kids with common interests rather than their friends that keep them in the "cool" box. Maybe it depends on where you live, but we have many options for teens that are interesting --certainly more than sitting in your house watching soaps, IMing friends, or spending the 61st day in a row at the pool talking about how fat you are.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:04 AM

It is amazing to see how perfect some people's children are but yet how horrible their parents are.

Posted by: Snarky Today | March 16, 2007 11:00 AM

what you think is horrible, I'd say is honest, and my guess is you have many traits we'd think are "horrible" too if you had the courage to post them.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:06 AM

"I have selfish parents who are cold and always have been."

That's my whole family. I accept them as they are and don't have unrealistic expectations. They are not going to change so I don't waste time hoping for something that will never happen.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:09 AM

Words to heed from Carolyn Hax:

"It's understandable, and certainly not uncommon, that others' rudeness brings out your worst. But that's another great impulse to resist, if for no other reason than it only deepens the muck. And it is possible to override this impulse. You can:
Be civil, patient, gracious;
Assume nothing;
Tread softly;
Deflect or ignore insults;
Treat the unattractively unsuccessful kindly;
Stay home when you're not up to making this effort.
You can win. Every time. You may never disarm them, and you may never want to. But grace and humility have never made someone feel worse.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:10 AM

I think that Anon for today was looking for a little sympathy. Anon for today, you have my sympathy. Rotten luck.

You all are getting me all nostalgic for my grandmother, who was my role model. She took care of me many times and always tried to get me to look at the world in a different way, appreciate nature, take adventures. In her 70s she took all the cousins two by two on a three-week camping trip to Florida. An incredible experience for all involved. She instilled in us values and passions that will be carried on to the next generation.

You can bet she reaped what she sowed. When she died a few months ago, at the age of 95, four of the grown grandchildren came from different parts of the country to care for her round the clock.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 16, 2007 11:12 AM

To 11:06 poster

Now I see a how my statement could be misinterperted. Let me restate.

It is amazing to see how perfect some people's children are but yet how horrible the grandparents are.

Posted by: Snarky Today | March 16, 2007 11:12 AM

With my large family, we couldn't afford camps - we all had bikes, there was plenty of woods to play in and a pool to go to. With other large families in the neighborhood, we sort of had our own camp.

Posted by: Missicat | March 16, 2007 11:14 AM

To the person with the cold parents -
I actually am not unsympathetic. My mother in law exhibits very little interest in my son. But what can you do? I don't make an issue of it because it would waste my energy. I also don't want my son to feel bad about it, or my husband to feel worse than he already does. We visit with her occasionally. She is pleasant enough, in her own distant way. And I give my son lots of love and time with other family members. They key to this is to manage our expectations.

Posted by: Emily | March 16, 2007 11:14 AM

Of course, that was in the 70s, when it was safer (or seemed safer) to race around the neighborhood and woods for the whole day...

Posted by: Missicat | March 16, 2007 11:14 AM

"certainly more than sitting in your house watching soaps, IMing friends, or spending the 61st day in a row at the pool talking about how fat you are."

Wow, a perfect description of summers in my gated community!!

Plus Oprah
Plus The View
Plus Dr. Phil
Plus Maury (You are NOT the Father!)

Posted by: smurfette | March 16, 2007 11:16 AM

"Yes, kids can have relationships with grandparents without staying overnight or being without a parent, but the relationship that develops isn't nearly as close as the relationship between kids and relatives with whom they have extended, non-parentally-supervised time"

I disagree, because I think it depends more on the personality of the grandparent. And you don't have to have relaxed rules to have a close relationship with a child!

My parents love and are great with my kids, but they would have more rules at their house than we do at home. They'd enforce bedtime more strictly, and they'd make my four year old drink milk, and they wouldn't let my 15 year old play rated M video games, and they wouldn't let them make the mess they do at home. They're also not the type to ever get "really close" to people - we have a loving family but we're not bonded in the way that most people think about when they think of close relationships.

My ils, on the other hand are that type of people, and my kids all have very close relationships with them even though they've rarely spent time with them without us. My mil will disappear with the kids for hours on end, playing make believe games with them in their bedrooms. My fil reads to them and goes outside to throw the ball around. We don't hover and interfere with their relationships.

Posted by: momof4 | March 16, 2007 11:19 AM

My parents would usually send me and my brother to visit our grandparents in the Dominican Republic for about a month and then they would join us there. They sent us for the whole summer once and when we returned said that they would never do that again...they missed us too much :-)

Posted by: MV | March 16, 2007 11:21 AM

People have different styles. My children had 2 grandmothers with different approaches. Here's an example from when the kids were between 4-12. Grandma 1 got on the floor, played games, colored, watched kid movies, gave them sweet treats, favorite foods for lunch etc. Grandma 2 greeted them and talked with them upon arrival, lots of hugs and kisses, had toys, gifts, and food for them. Within 20 minutes, she sent them to play while she watched tv or spoke with the adults. Kids were nearby but within view. She didn't have nearly the same level of interaction as Grandma 1.

My children did different things and have different memories of each grandma, but they love them both equally. They're both gone now.

Posted by: xyz | March 16, 2007 11:23 AM

"To the person with the cold parents -
I actually am not unsympathetic. My mother in law exhibits very little interest in my son. But what can you do? "

Exactly. Is there a Boot Camp to whip into shape uninterested Grandparents? Or any other relatives, for that matter? Not sure why, but some people are just not into their relatives. I don't think feelings can be forced without being fake.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:25 AM

Did they really love them both equally? Like them both equally? I had a similar Grandma 1 and 2 but vastly preferred Grandma 1. What kid wouldn't?

Posted by: To xyz | March 16, 2007 11:27 AM

Person called "Anon Today" complaining about an "anonymous troll."

And folks, please realize 2 things:

1. We are ALL anonymous on this board - I don't see too many full names, addresses and phone numbers here.

2. Anyone who thinks their kids are "exquisitely well behaved" all the time is going to be a NIGHTMARE for the teacher/principal/school the first time the little angel is disciplined. "Oh, no, little Johnny wouldn't do that. The other kid is lying/the teacher is out to get him/why are you persecuting him?"

Posted by: Definition of a Hypocrite | March 16, 2007 11:28 AM

Here's a little something I learned last summer than I wish I had known before. If you're wondering about a camp and want to do some really thorough research, go to Myspace and do a search for the camp name. This will bring up pages made by campers and frequently by counselors. We had a bad experience at an overnight camp for our kids a few years ago, and were really surprised when we did this later and a lot of the counselor's pages came up with references to drug use, sex and so forth.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | March 16, 2007 11:30 AM

And folks, please realize 2 things:

1. We are ALL anonymous on this board - I don't see too many full names, addresses and phone numbers here.

Posted by: Definition of a Hypocrite | March 16, 2007 11:28 AM

Sometimes I am so glad that we have such smart people on this blog to point out things we have never thought of before. What would we do without their passing on their vast store of knowledge to us?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:31 AM

Sometimes I am so glad that we have such smart people on this blog to point out things we have never thought of before. What would we do without their passing on their vast store of knowledge to us?

I note that you are reading and commenting today!

Posted by: Snarky Today | March 16, 2007 11:38 AM

Funny how people get all riled up about grandparents and babysitting. I personally hate the "babysitting" word ever since my oldest as a baby sincerely asked if the "babysitter" would sit on her if she did not behave. Family is sacred, at the same time everything is negotiable, and you can't force your kids on family members claiming they are the ones who are losing something. They have different needs, let go. Some people work to hard to impose their values on the kids, but trying to impose that on your parents...

A side remark: really well behaved, smart and funny kids are in high demand among relatives. One of mine is a popular houseguest in my husband's ex-family. His stayed overnight with his half-brothers, visited ex-wife's sister's family (they count him as a cousin) and most likely will go camping with "that side of the family" this summer.

Posted by: The lucky one | March 16, 2007 11:38 AM

The backyard Tent
Caution! If you have a group of boys (from 10 to 13), doing the overnighter in the backyard tent, expect them to run naked around the neighborhood about 2:00 am in the morning.

It's called the "double-dog dare".

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 16, 2007 11:38 AM

Ah, summer camps and grandmas' houses ... I really wish I would have never had to grow up :)
I didn't even know sleepaway for the WHOLE SUMMER camps even existed when I was a kid - I thought that only happened in storybooks - actually, call me utterly stupid, but I have never heard of one - wonder if it is an east coast thing ...
My son went to 4H camp last year for a week (he was almost 10) and loved it and can't wait to go back - but actually, I am getting very nervous for this summer - I haven't made any plans or paid for any reservations because we might be moving but I won't know until next month - should I be concerned that there won't be any slots available if I wait until mid-April??

My son is very close to all his extended family and would like to spend more time with them, but because they all work, it is as difficult to provide care at their houses as it would be if he stayed with me. It is an unfortunately ironic situation that it seems when grandparents are still "young old" and healthy with energy to spare, they are also still working, and then once they have the free time because they've retired, they also don't have the energy to care for kids around the clock for a week or more.

I LOVED getting shipped off to my grandparents' houses - one week w/ my grandma who lived in a "desert" - we always went during the county fair - and one week w/ my grandparents on the coast where we spent most of the time eating raspberries and playing in the creek. There are five of us, but most of my memories are of just the oldest three, so maybe my parents didn't think the grandparents could handle the whole brood without going insane.

Posted by: TakomaMom | March 16, 2007 11:40 AM

"Did they really love them both equally? Like them both equally? I had a similar Grandma 1 and 2 but vastly preferred Grandma 1. What kid wouldn't?"

A young child might not be able to distinguish between loving and preferring/liking, but an older child or an adult certainly can. As a child you preferred G1 - are you saying now, as an adult, that you loved her more? Or just that she was more fun to be around and you liked her more?

Some people are just more likable and fun than others. Should we really be critical of G2 because she isn't as likable or has a different style than G1?


Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:41 AM

"And folks, please realize 2 things:

1. We are ALL anonymous on this board - I don't see too many full names, addresses and phone numbers here.

Posted by: Definition of a Hypocrite | March 16, 2007 11:28 AM

Sometimes I am so glad that we have such smart people on this blog to point out things we have never thought of before. What would we do without their passing on their vast store of knowledge to us?"


Well the people who are saying "You have to put a name so we know who you are and so you have some accountability" apparently don't think about the issue the same way that D of a H phrased it.

I thought that the comment about addresses and phone numbers was to the point and welcome. Thank you, D of a H.

Posted by: sdfsdfsdfsdf | March 16, 2007 11:41 AM

Sorry, dyslexia, only 45 minutes of peace, not 63.

Posted by: Mona | March 16, 2007 11:41 AM

momof4 had great suggestions for 13-15 age group. I don't know where you live or if you WOH, but the problem I have is transportation to these camps since they all seem to be 9:00-3:00, 9:00-12:00, or 1:00-4:00. My childen were in a rec & parks camp through age 12 because they offered extended care 7:00-6:00. I would have loved to have my kids try other things such as horseback riding, canoeing, etc, but everything was either too expensive or had hours that didn't work for us.

My 15 year old daughter wants us to join the pool this summer because most of her friends belong. Her friends can walk to the pool but she can't walk or ride a bike. It's 3.5 miles away and one of the roads has very little shoulder and 50 MPH speed limit. Our immediate neighborhood only has a few kids her age and they have different groups of friends. So I am struggling with her summer schedule.

We did find a two-week teen day camp that is basically a field trip every day. Amusement and water parks. Juggling work for that since drop off is 9:00 am and I usually start work at 8:00. Also juggling work for last week of summer when sports try-outs are being held. We tried junior counselor at the rec and parks camp in the past, but she hated it.

I'm seriously considering not taking vacation so that I can work half-days all summer. I figure that she will sleep late most days, then have some chores, and by the time she starts *whining* to go somewhere or do something i should be home to take her or just be around if she wants to hang out with a friend in our neighborhood.

Posted by: xyz | March 16, 2007 11:42 AM

Also, my mom was a stay-at-home, so our summer visits with the grandparents were not a need-for-care situation, just a chance for some different scenery.
Yes, we were very lucky that our grandparents truly wanted us around. I think I would be heartbroken if my mom didn't want to spend time with her grandkids.

Posted by: TakomaMom | March 16, 2007 11:44 AM

Snarky Today, I doubt you'll find me directing a comment to you as though you are a two year old, but if you like that style of know-it-all commentary you have come to the right place.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:44 AM

Mailing Address

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Phone Numbers

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

(signed)

George Bush

Posted by: My Name and Phone | March 16, 2007 11:45 AM

"I didn't even know sleepaway for the WHOLE SUMMER camps even existed when I was a kid - I thought that only happened in storybooks - actually, call me utterly stupid, but I have never heard of one - wonder if it is an east coast thing ..."

I was going to say the same thing! All summer camps are something that happened in The Parent Trap or Little Darlings - real people didn't do that, did they? And even now I'm surprised that they still exist anywhere, since I don't know of a single overnight camp anywhere near here that lasts more than a week (2 weeks, maybe, but those are usually specialized camps not the "canoe, sleep in cabins, swim in the lake, have campfires every night" kind of camps.

Posted by: momof4 | March 16, 2007 11:45 AM

That's all.

Posted by: I miss double dog dares. | March 16, 2007 11:47 AM

When I read anon today's first post, I took "I wish my parents would take my kids for a few weeks" to mean two or three weeks. To me, that would be a lot to ask of a grandparent. How wonderful if a grandparent initiated such a long visit though!

I'm sorry I didn't pick up on: "they wouldn't because they say 'they're you're responsibility' so I feel they lose out on a relationship with them." That was a clue to the coldness that anon today described later.

I don't think that my posts were particularly harsh, but I do think that as times change, maybe expectations of grandparents will have to change too. Many children will have older grandparents than in the past. It seems that older age will be going in a few different directions. Public health experts are predicting that obesity rates will have a negative impact on older health. For healthier older adults, maybe some will want to pursue travel or hobbies. Of course, grandparents will still love grandchildren. They might not want concentrated time of two or more weeks though, or even one.

Posted by: Marian | March 16, 2007 11:47 AM

Snarky Today, I doubt you'll find me directing a comment to you as though you are a two year old, but if you like that style of know-it-all commentary you have come to the right place.

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 11:44 AM

Just trying to figure out which comments you made today? Hard to tell with all the anon ones.

Posted by: Snarky Today | March 16, 2007 11:47 AM

I worked as a counselor at a YMCA summer camp. It was not advertised as being for the entire summer, but you could stay for 4 two-week sessions. I know some kids went home Sat am at the end of one session only to return sun evening at the start of the next. I don't remember if it was a requirement to leave at the end of the session.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:48 AM

"I'm seriously considering not taking vacation so that I can work half-days all summer. I figure that she will sleep late most days, then have some chores, and by the time she starts *whining* to go somewhere or do something i should be home to take her or just be around if she wants to hang out with a friend in our neighborhood."

I did this one summer and it worked out very well for my daughter. We had a lot of fun doing things together without being in a frenzied rush.

We spent a lot of time sitting in the park and chatting. It was our most relaxing and cheapest summer.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:49 AM

momof4, I suspect my ignorance might also have something to do with belonging to the wrong, um, economic class ...

xyz, I think half days would work well if you can do that - gives a chance for all those lazy summer afternoons everyone is remembering so fondly! Sometimes when I need to put in extra hours at work, I go early while my son is still sleeping for all the reasons you mentioned!

Posted by: TakomaMom | March 16, 2007 11:49 AM

another thought for 'older' teens are camps that are run by colleges - they offer college (sorta) courses, the child gets to 'feel' what it's like to live in a dorm, go to classes, be with others, etc. A friend of mine did it one summer, maybe four weeks? She was 15/16 I think. Another idea.

When all the grandkids were young (10 or so, maybe?) my grandmother took them on trips for four or five days. My sister went alone (she was the oldest by far) and my grandmother took my sister and cousin (they are about the same age). My other cousin and I (we are about the same age) were SO Excited about it, I waited for that trip for years. But by the time we were old enough, my grandmother said that she was too tired to do it. I understood, but was disappointed. We still stayed many nights with her (and her with us) and I have a close relationship with her (she just turned 97!). And all that time together was very special. My other grandmother, tho, was very cold and not so loving, and we had almost no relationship with her (she passed when I was bout 9, anyway) but I only remember her as someone who didn't seem too interested in us, and she didn't like my mom, so that didn't warm her in my heart. I remember that when my MIL says certain things, and I remember that for when my sons get married - cause kids love their moms, and aren't so happy when someone else isn't so nice to them.

Posted by: atlmom | March 16, 2007 11:50 AM

TakomaMom, your childhood summers sound awesome. Sigh. For the first time here, I actually AM jealous of someone's past experiences, LOL.

sdfsdfsdfsdf, still missing the point. Using a name of any sort, assists other readers in following the conversation. It's not about real names, addresses, phone numbers or any way to out or identify a commenter. It's not news to anyone that all posters are anonymous, and we will have to agree to disagree on whether the point of the blog is to hear one's own voice, or provide comments of value to others.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 16, 2007 11:50 AM

One week of overnight camp and two weeks of visiting mom's parents - who, during the summer, live on a boat, so that is way cool. I do sign them up for a camp near the boat, so that my mother doesn't have a 24 hour supervisory requirement. That way, they all enjoy their time together, and hubby and I love the peace and quiet. Drawback, they come back fans of some TV show we would never let them watch (last year it was "House"). I'm waiting for the right time to lobby them to take the kids to Disney! Unfortunately, in-laws getting a little too old for long-term visits, and there is a too-much-freedom issue there. Kids need to be decontaminated and deprogrammed when they get back.

Posted by: PoorYorick | March 16, 2007 11:50 AM

Well, I'm clearly generalizing too much based on my own experience. Grandma 2 was more of the kids-should-be-seen-and-not heard kind of grandparent-- made it clear that she loved us, but wasn't all that interested in us. Grandma 1 knew us as individuals and it felt like a deeper love in that way, in both directions.

I think bonds do form based on the time and effort that is put into a relationship. I don't see it as a matter of style, but rather as a matter of effort. But again, I 'm probably extrapolating too much based on my own situation.

Posted by: To xyz | March 16, 2007 11:53 AM

Wow, there are TONS of summer camps that are all summer. My sister sent her kid to a seven week camp, either in eastern PA or upstate NY. We went to camp in PA. Many camps have different sessions now, rather than eight week sessions.
NC, TN and GA have tons of camps as well.
The mountains here are gorgeous.

Posted by: atlmom | March 16, 2007 11:54 AM

"Did they really love them both equally? Like them both equally? I had a similar Grandma 1 and 2 but vastly preferred Grandma 1. What kid wouldn't?"

Yes they did really love them both equally, the same way that a parent loves their children equally, even though they are all different

Grandma 2 didn't interact with them the entire time, but she wasn't completely unavailable. They were able to go to her and show her their drawings, ask her to look at anything they had made, ask her to read a book, etc.

My children got along well with each other and were able to play happily without Grandma 2 being right in the middle of it. And they were also happy when Granda 1 was right in the middle of it.

adaptable kids, I guess.

Posted by: xyz | March 16, 2007 11:54 AM

I think a child's relationship with his or her grandparents, if they're lucky enough to have them, is invaluable for a number of reasons. For one thing, it demonstrates and teaches respect for the elderly (and children will watch how you treat your parents and probably do the same right back to you). It also gives a child a sense of their place in the family history. It was from my grandparents that I heard the most about my relations and ancestors. It's also great to be able to ask what your own parents were like when they were young. I was fortunate to have 3 of my grandparents living for most of my childhood, and two up until a few years ago. Now only my one grandmother remains, and she is a treasure.

So I'd say, if your own relationship with your parents or your husband's parents isn't so great, you should try to improve it if only for the sake of your children.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 16, 2007 11:54 AM

my husband's aunt took him on a 4 week trip to California when he was 16. He was a mess. into drugs, underachieving in school, lacking direction and generally making his parents' lives miserable. She never said a word to him during that trip about sex, drugs, smoking, poor choices, or any of the other many things she could have discussed with him. After that trip, though, he didn't want to disappoint her and cleaned up his act. He's now 40 something. not a month goes by that he doesn't make some reference to a good memory from that trip. One-on-one time and attention from relatives can make a world of difference in a troubled life.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:56 AM

"Drawback, they come back fans of some TV show we would never let them watch (last year it was "House")."

Ha! Mine came back addicted to "The Lawrence Welk Show"!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:57 AM

And from comedian I don't remember which:

Why do kids and grandparents get along so well?

They have the same enemies.

Posted by: atlmom | March 16, 2007 11:57 AM

for the early teen transportation issue I have hired college students (or trusted high school students) to drive her. It can feel like a lot of money, but it is cheaper than cab fare. Whenever we start with someone new, even the family friends, she is quizzed on their driving skills.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | March 16, 2007 12:00 PM

Ha! I have to say, there have been LOTS of good summer stories today - mine were just the most lazy :) I haven't actually decided if that was a good thing - I still resent having to work my regular, 40-hour weeks in the summer from all those years of lazy programming!

The last two weeks of August are always my worst nightmare here - that's when it seems all the summer camps shut down and school isn't started. That would be the best time to ship off to the grandparents if I can arrange it.

Posted by: TakomaMom | March 16, 2007 12:02 PM

I'm continually amazed at how much time and energy you people spend figuring out how to make your kids someone else's responsiblity. You don't see them anyway, why would you need a break?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:03 PM

My MIL played favorites among her children and granchildren based on gender. There is bad blood all over the place. I limited her contact with my kids. Now that they are adults, she is suddenly interested in them and calls all the time. Go figure.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:06 PM

"for the early teen transportation issue I have hired college students (or trusted high school students) to drive her"

HA !!! I have a college student who can't drive my younger teen because she has to work full time to help with college expenses. Her friends either have to work themselves full time, or don't want to get up early enough to deliver to 9:00 am camps.

Sorry, I can't afford to pay for a driver in addition to camp with one currently in college.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:08 PM

"Just trying to figure out which comments you made today?"

Do you really care?

Who has the time or interest for this?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:10 PM

I'm continually amazed at how much time and energy you people spend figuring out how to make your kids someone else's responsiblity. You don't see them anyway, why would you need a break?

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 12:03 PM


not all, or even most of us want a break, but then Emily was roundly slammed by another snarky anon for not wanting to be apart from her child.

We can't win.

Posted by: to anon at 12:03 | March 16, 2007 12:11 PM

I feel for the working parents who have to patchwork all of this every summer. When I worked PT, my kids were going to a home-based daycare, so I had continuity in childcare. Working parents of school-aged children are just trying to make sure the kids have a safe (and maybe even fun) place to be when everyday school and aftercare are not available.

I don't like the idea of entire summers away at sleepaway camp--that does seem like outsourcing. A week or two seems like it could be a fun adventure for a kid though.

Posted by: Marian | March 16, 2007 12:13 PM

"Well, I'm clearly generalizing too much based on my own experience. Grandma 2 was more of the kids-should-be-seen-and-not heard kind of grandparent-- made it clear that she loved us, but wasn't all that interested in us. Grandma 1 knew us as individuals and it felt like a deeper love in that way, in both directions.
I think bonds do form based on the time and effort that is put into a relationship. I don't see it as a matter of style, but rather as a matter of effort. But again, I 'm probably extrapolating too much based on my own situation."

So would you say the same thing about a parent who put time and effort into the relationship with their child (i.e. being an at-home parent, not ditching them at daycare, not shipping them off to camp for weeks every summer, perhaps even homeschooling as to put even more time and effort into the relationship?) I doubt it. You would say that the parent who does those things isn't being true to themselves or paying attention to their own needs and/or is smothering the child. So how is a grandparent different? Why should a grandparent have to completely change their personality, becoming interested in child's play when it bores them to tears, give up their long-earned adult chatting/card playing/tv watching time if they don't want to?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:15 PM

"ot all, or even most of us want a break, but then Emily was roundly slammed by another snarky anon for not wanting to be apart from her child.

We can't win.

Posted by: to anon at 12:03 | March 16, 2007 12:11 PM "

Hey to anon,

Who are you and why are you ashamed of using your real blog name?

(But, sympathy on the issue you're actually writing about. The anonymity issue and the kids-away, kids-at-home issue are getting a little crossed...)

Posted by: asdasdasdasd | March 16, 2007 12:16 PM

"I'm continually amazed at how much time and energy you people spend figuring out how to make your kids someone else's responsiblity. You don't see them anyway, why would you need a break?

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 12:03 PM"

I need a break because I'm so damned tired of being the only one to give a damn about my child. His dad treats him as though he is a hobby or trophy, something to divert his attention or show off to relatives and co-workers. I need a week or two to just worry about me for a change...sleep in for a change...have dinner at a fine dining establishment with my friends for a change. And, honestly, my son needs a break from his cranky mother.

Posted by: Snarky Anon for a Moment | March 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"gives a chance for all those lazy summer afternoons everyone is remembering so fondly! "

Isn't it amazing that the lazy summer afternoons that we remember so fondly have become hot, hazy and humid and all we crave is our A/C (or is that just me?)?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 12:18 PM

Couldn't be a more timely topic. This year my daughter has decided to spend her summer in India with the grandparents and relatives. She has gone to day camps all along but has never stayed without us. One of us will fly out with her in June (too scared to let her fly alone) and come back after 3 weeks and the other will go later in August and bring her back. We are going to miss her a lot but I know it will be a great opportunity for her to bond with the extended family and become independent.
I went away to boarding school when I was eight and much as I missed my family the confidence and sense of independence it gave me was priceless.
We are keeping her fingers crossed that it will all work out well.

Posted by: SR | March 16, 2007 12:19 PM

"Working parents of school-aged children are just trying to make sure the kids have a safe (and maybe even fun) place to be when everyday school and aftercare are not available. I don't like the idea of entire summers away at sleepaway camp--that does seem like outsourcing. A week or two seems like it could be a fun adventure for a kid though."

It's all in the attitude. Marian's assumes that camp experiences are for the purpose of parents having safe, supervised care while parents are working. It sounds like prison or a holding pen. What child would want this?

We don't choose places that are safe with fun as an afterthought, and I would not send my children to sleepaway camp for my convenience. My kids are in the camps they are in because the camps are fun and consistent with my kids' interests, or their friends are there, or they saved up to take a special sports camp like the basketball camp at a local college run by a coach my son admires.

It's not outsourcing to agree to let my child have an experience he wants to have, has earned, and that I can afford along with his contribution.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:19 PM

"gives a chance for all those lazy summer afternoons everyone is remembering so fondly! "

That are the reason most of us will end up with skin cancer...........

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:20 PM

My friend from church had sex for the first time at camp. The next summer, she was a 15 year old mom.

Posted by: Mommy! | March 16, 2007 12:21 PM

"gives a chance for all those lazy summer afternoons everyone is remembering so fondly! "

That are the reason most of us will end up with skin cancer...........

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 12:20 PM

hysterical much? skin cancer is not so likely if your summers were spent in the woods, by the creek, in Maine or Canada, if you used skin products from an early age as most people under 30 have done.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:24 PM

"That are the reason most of us will end up with skin cancer..........."

Wow. Please don't give your kid grammar lessons.

Posted by: yikes | March 16, 2007 12:24 PM

"That are the reason most of us will end up with skin cancer..........."

keep those kids inside watching tv and playing video games as much possible, Moms! Make 'em obese and avoid skin cancer at all costs!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:26 PM

"gives a chance for all those lazy summer afternoons everyone is remembering so fondly! "

I remember being out all day with my friends. Roller skating, bike riding, dodge ball, in and out of each other's houses. My kids wouldn't have this even if I were home because their friends are at camp, traveling, doing enrichment activities, swim club, etc. The neighborhood my kids live in is nothing like the one in which I was raised. I grew up with SAHMs everywhere - many eyes watching, so looser boundaries on the kids. My kids are growing up in quiet dual-income neighborhoods where parents are fearful of letting kids out of there sight.

I also grew up in a neighborhood of row houses where there were many families and kids in close proximity. Very few had air conditioning, so more people stayed outside. We have 'moved up' to a neighborhood of 1/2 acre lots where people retreat to their air-conditioned comfort and we rarely see anyone.

I definitely grew up without 'enough' and am glad my kids don't struggle with that, but there is a different kind of price we pay for our lifestyle now.

Posted by: Just a thought | March 16, 2007 12:27 PM

I say Bravo to parental outsourcing! It seems clear from people's responses that quite often this kind of "break" can have wonderful results for kids and parents, without harming any family bonds. Being together 24/7 can be over-rated and kind of co-dependent.

I asked to go to summer camp when I was 13. I picked a 350 acre farm in Pennsylvania called Longacre Farm, where we cared for the animals ourselves, harvested wheat and grain and vegetables, and cooked all our own meals. A fully self sufficient community.

I was having a hard adolescence and that camp just about saved my life. I missed my family a lot, and came home a much more grateful, responsible, independent kid. I went back for many more summers and still keep in touch with my friends and the camp owners. I would like to send my own kids there one day.

Getting away from your family sometimes can teach you how much you love them.

Posted by: Leslie | March 16, 2007 12:29 PM

"That are the reason most of us will end up with skin cancer..........."

The toxins in the suntan lotions are giving more people skin cancer than the sun.

Posted by: Fooled Again | March 16, 2007 12:35 PM

"It's all in the attitude. Marian's assumes that camp experiences are for the purpose of parents having safe, supervised care while parents are working. It sounds like prison or a holding pen. What child would want this?"

I agree that camp should be based on the child's interests. However, the first requirement for my family, and I would guess most families without a SAH parent, is whether or not we can work out the logistics.

The second requirement is financal - can we afford that. If we can't, it doesn't matter how much the child is interested.

If we can't get them there, and we can't afford it, it is just out of the question. So, if our daughter wants drama camp, but it doesn't meet those requirements, then she has to choose something else.

The summer camps our children attended had daycare hours. They generally weren't our first choice, or our children's, but they still enjoyed the camps.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:36 PM

to anon at 12:15:

Lots of parents put time and effort into their children and still work/send their kids to daycare/camp - why is SAH/homeschool the only option you present?

As for the grandparents debate: I see the complaint as being about gp's who are not interested in any kind of relationship with their gkids, not just a relationship as defined by the parents. My 2 gmthrs were very different, and one was nice to me but not good to my brother (and was the same way to my dad, her only child.)
My momis active and involved in her gkids lives because she wants to be (very healthy, works full time, was a very involved WOH mom.) The relationship benefits all of us (and my husband and I are very close to my mom too.)

Now, my MIL is more problematic, picks year long feuds with members of her family, but we keep a civil realtionship with her for the sake of the gkids, and they nver know the s*** she tries to stir. Sometimes being selectively deaf can work wonders in family relationships?

Jessker

Posted by: jessker 17 | March 16, 2007 12:37 PM

Being together 24/7? Who on this board is with their kids 24/7? Half the time everyone here is complaining about how their job should give them more time off to be with their kids. Nevermind that you are creating a whole group of kids that expect to be entertained all the time and won't be able to formulate a single independant creative thought once they are on their own. Funny, you never see a blog about people wanting more vacation time to be with their families. I have never seen a more selfish, whiny group of people in my life.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:38 PM

"Being together 24/7 can be over-rated and kind of co-dependent."

You know, I really don't know anyone who is together 24/7, even SAHM/D.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:38 PM

regarding this comment:"Did they really love them both equally? Like them both equally? I had a similar Grandma 1 and 2 but vastly preferred Grandma 1. What kid wouldn't?"

I'd say be careful about having grandparents be "in charge" of your kids. I had Grandma #1, who watched us often. She would stay at out house all summer and be in charge of us. Grandma #2 lived out of state. We saw her often, but always visited and played and really looked forward to seeing her. We called GM #1 'mean grandma, and GM #2 'fun Grandma'. Not that I didn't love GM#1, but she wasn't all that fun to live with when she was acting as a third parent!

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 16, 2007 12:41 PM

Coming in late today, pardon if this is a repeat.

My parents could afford to send us away and did not. This did not mean we were idle. We spent most of our summers on our bikes, at picnics, playing football or endless games of capture the flag.

As we got older we either took one of the "enrichment" courses through Fairfax County Public Schools (i.e. - optional summer school classes) or got ourselves a job (whether it be self-employed house/baby sitting or a "real" job).

I don't think summer camp ever came up. I certainly don't feel I missed out on anything. I had my friends, the Smithsonian museums, and I grew up in western Fairfax County when it was still covered in trees and Timberlake didn't have houses around it, so I had all sorts of nature opportunities.

If I had to think about it, I would say that we never went to camp because my parents are the first ones to tell you they are not big fans of camping. My mother often says she doesn't remember dropping me on my head, otherwise she couldn't figure out why I became a field geologist who had to spend weeks of her summers living out of a tent.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | March 16, 2007 12:42 PM

"I have never seen a more selfish, whiny group of people in my life."

Come to NYC, we've got millions of 'em!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:46 PM

"So would you say the same thing about a parent who put time and effort into the relationship with their child (i.e. being an at-home parent, not ditching them at daycare, not shipping them off to camp for weeks every summer, perhaps even homeschooling as to put even more time and effort into the relationship?) I doubt it. . . . Why should a grandparent have to completely change their personality, becoming interested in child's play when it bores them to tears, give up their long-earned adult chatting/card playing/tv watching time if they don't want to?"

Wow, 12:15, so in your book WOHM = no interest in her kids?

Kids are smart. They know who is genuinely interested in them and who is just faking it -- whether they spend 24/7 with them or a week a year. From the stories I've heard here, seems like both WOH and SAH fall into both categories. Seriously, my mom was WOH; my stepmother was SAH. And yet I now have a much better relationship with my mom than they do with theirs -- because while she claimed that she was all about "her boys," she was really all about "the club" and "lunch with the girls."

What you have to do is play to your strengths to the best you can. My husband is great at the roughhousing, not so good with the sitting and reading "Go Dog Go" for the 847th time in a row. So we try to focus on what we're best at to give the kids all of the kinds of attention they need.

And no, grandma and grandpa no more have to "completely change their personality" any more than parents do. It's exactly the same deal: you have to play to their strengths (with even more deference, because they're not the parents). Example: my mom's not so hot on babies, but adores older kids. So I didn't push my daughter on her when she was a baby, and followed her lead on how much time she wanted to spend with her. Now she loves time with my 5-yr-old -- still cannot STAND "kid" stuff (bores her to tears), but she does other things with my daughter, like teaching her to cook and use the computer. And my daughter adores her.

You just don't have to give up your personality to have a good relationship with kids or grandkids. Nor does giving up your personality and pretending to be something you're not guarantee a good relationship.

Posted by: Laura | March 16, 2007 12:46 PM

""That are the reason most of us will end up with skin cancer..........."

The toxins in the suntan lotions are giving more people skin cancer than the sun. "

uh-huh. right. it's all a big conspiracy.

Posted by: What????? | March 16, 2007 12:53 PM

""That are the reason most of us will end up with skin cancer..........."

The toxins in the suntan lotions are giving more people skin cancer than the sun. "

uh-huh. right. it's all a big conspiracy.

Posted by: What????? | March 16, 2007 12:53 PM

Hey, I died becasue of skin cancer!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:57 PM

Hey, I died becasue of skin cancer!

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 12:57 PM

Was it caused by the sun, or use of suntan lotions?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 12:58 PM

Kids in Australia are getting rickets because their cover up/sunscreen campaign worked so well.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:01 PM

Hey, I died becasue of skin cancer!

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 12:57 PM

Was it caused by the sun, or use of suntan lotions?

Posted by: | March 16, 2007 12:58 PM

Yes

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:01 PM

This blog is really off track today. Maybe we need some culture to get it back on? Anybody with me on this?

Posted by: A Regular Lurker | March 16, 2007 1:09 PM

I thinking fooled yet again was trying to mess up Number's numbers (of posts that is)

One of mine never did camp. He just wasn't interested. One did camp once for a month. She went, claimed to hate it, but 15 years later she is still in contact with people she met at that camp. Another did many camps. He is the most social of them all. He would seek out camps to attend and then tell his buddies where he was going. It would turn out some of them would then go to the same place! The last did one camp also. He had a great time. He's just too darn busy to do camp again. He's rather do competitions during summer now.

Posted by: dotted | March 16, 2007 1:10 PM

Leslie and company, please delete the lengthy, duplicative post at 12:47 based on 1:09 follow-up comment.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:10 PM

"I just feel sorry for my children who do not have the benefit of having a large, warm extended family"

So do I, but since my son is 36, that gondola left the station many moons ago. He considers some of his lifelong friends and his pets as "family"; it eases the pain a bit.

As stated before, there is no way to force people to be interested in their families or anything else.

Look at all the absentee and no-show fathers & mothers who don't give a damn.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:12 PM

I think every kid should experience a week or two away from mom and day each summer. Let's face it, sleeping late, riding bikes, running through the sprinkler, and going to the neighbor's pool gets old after the 4th of July. Parents need a break too. I went to Girl Scout camp or some other camp for a week every summer from the time I was 8 until I was old enough to get a summer job. My brothers and sister went too and we all loved it. Kids really need to experience that kind of independence at some point before going off to college! And if grandparents/relatives are willing and able to help out, by all means, use them. I have 2 1/2 yr old twins and they have already spent a week with their grandparents every summer so far. My husnand and I can't wait for this summer's "free week!"

Posted by: LBH219 | March 16, 2007 1:14 PM

Sleep-away camp saved my summers - once I found one I liked (which took a few summers). Seven week camps (after age 13) allowed a shy kid to feel stable at a place other than home, and to be in an environment with other kids, which was great after the rest of the kids were out of the house. I don't think I'd send kids under 11 for that long, though, unless they had an older sibling there.

Since I was an angry teen (no drugs, drinking, or sex - just attitude and escapist reading), it gave me, my parents, and my live-in grandma a break. It's also a great solution for Fairfax County, since it isn't set up for kids to make their own fun like older towns typically are.

My parents were comfortable with Girl Scout camps and Jewish camps - the one I liked was Labor Zionist (Camp Galil). It's religion was minimal, and the kids were friendlier than at the more religious (and wealthier) camp I'd gone to first.

As for kids over 13 who stay home, CIT's and Jr. Counselor positions at camp are good options. They help teach responsibility, are fully supervised, and hook the kids into good babysitting options when camp is out.

Posted by: FormerVirginian | March 16, 2007 1:16 PM

As an aside, my husband claims our neighborhood *is* camp and he wants to be a kid in our neighborhood during the summer months...

Posted by: dotted | March 16, 2007 1:18 PM

What's so very funny, is how entitled to free time and a break everyone seems to feel. My parents have been married 40 years and they didn't have a vacation alone together until my brother and I were in college. Now everyone seems to think that they "need" 5 days in the Bahamas to ensure that their marriage is healthy. Give me a break.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:18 PM

Laura makes a good point - paternal grandma loved all us cousins we were babies (preferrably without too many verbal skills or opinions!) and paternal grandpa showed more interest in us when we could hold conversations. A fond memory was him taking me to lunch around 7 or 8 and having basic economic principles explained to me.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 16, 2007 1:20 PM

I wanted nothing more than to go to away camp as a kid, severe allergies and asthma kept me out of the game. Made up for it with a week of running camp in Maine as an adult, would do that every summer if I could.
After protracted negotiations with in-laws, DSD is spending a week with them. Lots of dithering on their part as to which week, but they came through with an impressive list of activities. It did take DH and me putting collective feet down to demand it be a solo visit. In-laws do great one-on-one with grandkids, any more than one and they immediately pick a favorite and turn it into a uber-needfest on their part. DSD is the eldest of their grandkids, it's a great "rite of passage" for her and the in-laws. As it is, we're going to have to turn ourselves inside out with gratitude for months to come (not that we're not greatful, just that it takes so much extra to stave off months of pouting because we didn't properly thank them).
My parents are local, the perfect day-trip grandparents who've done incredibly neat things with their grandkids. Their preference is to sit for us at our place, familiar to the younger grandkids and eagerly looked forward to as well. A week wouldn't be fair to them, but if we needed a week they'd be first in line to do it, then thank us profusely for giving them such a gift.
I think I'll call Mom now and thank her, just because...

Posted by: Stroller Momma | March 16, 2007 1:20 PM

"What's so very funny, is how entitled to free time and a break everyone seems to feel. My parents have been married 40 years and they didn't have a vacation alone together until my brother and I were in college. Now everyone seems to think that they "need" 5 days in the Bahamas to ensure that their marriage is healthy. Give me a break."

No, it's your spouse who needs the break from an a-hole like you!

The apostles got to go on vacation from time to time!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:23 PM

dear God, this has become almost as dreadfully mindless as the On Parenting blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:26 PM

We can't afford summer camps. We do free stuff like going to the community pool and hiking. The kids do go spend the night at either grandparents maybe once a week. We take 2 vacations in the summer though - so the kids do get away to the beach and usually visiting relatives that have much cooler houses and bigger yards then we do.

I never went to summer camps, spent most of my time riding bikes, skating, going to the pool and bugging my parents.

Posted by: cmac | March 16, 2007 1:26 PM

As an aside, my husband claims our neighborhood *is* camp and he wants to be a kid in our neighborhood during the summer months...

Posted by: dotted | March 16, 2007 01:18 PM

Ain't that the truth dotted! Our neighborhood has a lot of activity in the summer (actually all year), plus parents coming home from work with kids in the yard having a beer and just hanging around. My husband always tells our kids how lucky they are to be kids - and to enjoy it while it lasts......

Posted by: cmac | March 16, 2007 1:30 PM

"dear God, this has become almost as dreadfully mindless as the On Parenting blog."

Close, but not quite. For some folks, the comments on today's topics have been real eye-openers.

I've got to call my sister and thank her again for a few things...


Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:31 PM

So funny. In their quest to pressure us into having kids soon, both DH's and my parents have offered to help with caretaking. My father even offered that they would take them "for weeks on end" (haha, i'll believe it when i see it :) MIL has suggested we could move to their city so they could help. I just wonder if they will remember their desperation for grandchildren when we call actually needing help, or suggest sending them their for part of the summer....

Posted by: MWA | March 16, 2007 1:33 PM

A friend of mine is a nurse. When she works at a skateboard camp for a week and her 15 year old son gets to go for free. The first couple of years it was fine - she would see him on and off during the week and he would talk to her. She says she never did the clingy huggy mommy thing. This last year he broke her heart as he wouldn't even speak to her if he saw her walking around or in the dining room.
She isn't doing it this year. Not to punish him but to show him that she did it for him (she sure didn't enjoy spending a week in a group room without A/C) and he didn't appreciate it. He never even thanked her.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 1:36 PM

From about 4 or 5 years old, my sister and I spent most of the summer each year with our grandparents. We were the only grandkids and it was great getting all the attention from them. They were the ones who took us on trips to the beach, the mountains, Disney World, amusement parks, and basically anywhere around the southeast that they felt like visiting. Some of that was stuff our parents probably wouldn't have done with us (partly because of money and partly because I don't think it ever really crossed their minds to go to Disney). I had a great relationship with all my grandparents because of it. I would love to do that with my daughter (who just turned 2) in a few years, although my folks will be in their mid-60s so I hope they'll be up for it (my grandparents were in their mid-50s when I was a kid). My husband is not so enthusiastic about the idea since he never did that kind of thing growing up, so I hope he'll be more amenable to it as DD gets older. Unfortunately his parents have passed away, so there's only one set of grandparents.

Posted by: Tigerlily | March 16, 2007 1:39 PM

I remember being a kid when Evil Knevil was going to jump Snake River Canyon. The rumor broke out that he jumped 12 trash cans on his bicycle when he was a kid. All the guys in the neighborhood got out their bikes and we made ramps out of cynder blocks and boards.

It was great fun...

Until my brother broke his collar bone.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 16, 2007 1:40 PM

When I was a kid, my parents would "pack
us off" to my mom's parents for about 2
weeks, usually in August. We thought this
was the biggest treat for us, but now I realize how wonderful it was for my parents to have us out from under their feet! While at Grandma's and Grandpa's we would mostly hang out and play with their neighbor kids and go with my Grandma on her errands -- among them the hairdo appointment and lunch out on Friday -- and take jaunts in the area on the weekend with both of them and see how another part of the family lived. Grandma always kept crayons and pens and creative stuff and chewing gum for us in one of the drawers of the dining room bureau; today I keep chewing gum in my kitchen junk drawer for my son! My son missed out on this nice "vacation" custom with my mom as she worked for *years* after he was born and didn't take off time to cater to any of her grandchildren -- and she could have done that, too! I've made a decision that I will offer my grandkids "vacations" even if I am working full-time. It's got to be one of the sweetest bonding experiences a kid can have. Now I just hope my son (he's 23) will someday have kids! No guarantees, so I've already mused about "adopting" some if necessary! : )

Posted by: SF Mom | March 16, 2007 1:40 PM

"A friend of mine is a nurse. When she works at a skateboard camp for a week and her 15 year old son gets to go for free. The first couple of years it was fine - she would see him on and off during the week and he would talk to her. She says she never did the clingy huggy mommy thing. This last year he broke her heart as he wouldn't even speak to her if he saw her walking around or in the dining room.
She isn't doing it this year. Not to punish him but to show him that she did it for him (she sure didn't enjoy spending a week in a group room without A/C) and he didn't appreciate it. He never even thanked her."

Sounds like a very immature way to handle this. My kids "broke my heart" a few times, but I didn't pull a martyr act. I told them how I felt.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:40 PM

To anon at 1:40,
Oh, she has told him how she feels and why she isn't doing it again. It isn't as much about the broken heart but more about the lack of appreciation/thanks. She would do anything for her kids within reason but feels they need to learn to say thank you - esp at 15 - or they will have a tough time down the road.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 1:43 PM

I've been out of my office - just catching up. I appreciate the helpful comments about 14-15 year-olds. The theatre camp my daughter has done for a couple of years goes up to 10th grade - she's just decided she doesn't want to go any more. Other than that, she doens't have any great passions that she wants to spend the summer doing. She was hoping to volunteer with in one of PG's special ed preschools, but the program may be moved this summer (asbestos removal). Hopefully they'll do it at one of our local schools so she can still do it. If so, she'd be done by lunchtime, and still have time to "hang out" with her friends. She has begun babysitting, but she's not into the all-day thing. Fortunately, we have time to figure this out.

Interesting stuff about grandparents... my mother couldn't wait till my kids were old enough to put on an airplane to visit her... unfortunately, she died when they were 6 and 10 years old. And you know what? As much as I love my dad, he would never agree to do that. I miss my mom every day, and the more mature relationship my daughter could have had with her.

Posted by: Loren | March 16, 2007 1:46 PM

All the negative Nancies out there are really making the blog unplesant today! "You people are so entitled" I feel sorry for your kids who are stuck in the house with you and your horrible attitude all summer!

It's not "entitlement" if you've earned. People who are talking about taking a vacation have earned it. It's not as though they're asking someone else to pay for it. The parents who can take vacations have saved time from work, saved money, and made plans. They deserve every second for making that sacrifice.

So your parents never took a vacation together? Do you want the martyr of the day award so you can ship it to them? Or will you be happy with the self-righteous gold star? Is there anything else you want to share that might break the tie between you and the "parents already spend enough time away from their kids and shouldn't want to be away from them during the summer" poster?

Posted by: Meesh | March 16, 2007 1:46 PM

"Kids really need to experience that kind of independence at some point before going off to college"

Not to be snarky here, but I just have to ask. Why do you think kids really "need" to experience that kind of independence? Many kids go off to college without having gone away for a week or more over the summer and they are just fine.

I don't think the experience hurts the child, but I also don't think the child needs the experience.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:48 PM

To anon at 1:40,
"Oh, she has told him how she feels and why she isn't doing it again. It isn't as much about the broken heart but more about the lack of appreciation/thanks. She would do anything for her kids within reason but feels they need to learn to say thank you - esp at 15 - or they will have a tough time down the road."

If your friend had "done anything for her kids" and spent the first 15 years teaching her kids manners and appreciation, there wouldn't be a problem.

She should at least check out what is normal behavior for 15 year before having a knee jerk response to the behavior.

Hasn't she been working with teens during the summer for the past couple of years?

Again, your friend is a very immature person who sounds a lot like Father of 4.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 1:50 PM

"It's not "entitlement" if you've earned. People who are talking about taking a vacation have earned it. It's not as though they're asking someone else to pay for it. The parents who can take vacations have saved time from work, saved money, and made plans. They deserve every second for making that sacrifice."

I'm a different lurker, not the person to whom you are responding.

I believe that people absolutely deserve their vacations, however, DH and I take our vacations as a family, with the children. We wouldn't consider a vacation without them. I don't know if it's just our personalities or because we only get one vacation per year after the rest of vacation time is used for other things like school closed days, sick child days, etc.

I don't expect to be taking vacations with my children when they are adults - those huge extended family vacations seem creepy to me, but while they are minor children, the vacations will be family vacations, not couples vacations.

I don't get people who do it differently, but they probably don't get me either. Frankly, I don't really care.

Posted by: to Meesh | March 16, 2007 1:56 PM

Anon @1:50,
I am so glad that you can tell all about someone's parenting skills from a couple of paragraphs. If the worst thing her kids do is not say thanks she would be pretty lucky.
I bet there are a lot of teenagers who don't say thanks and don't like to talk to their parents even with the best of upbringing. That doesn't mean that it should be rewarded.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 1:57 PM

"All the negative Nancies out there are really making the blog unplesant today! "You people are so entitled" I feel sorry for your kids who are stuck in the house with you and your horrible attitude all summer!"

People who complain about negativism and then post negativism are a bit hypocritical...don't you think?

It's about balance for me. I have great memories of my mom and dad from our family vacations, but it was also nice to go on trips without them at times. Seems if you always either have family vacations or always get sent to camp for a month, you lose out in one way or another.

Posted by: FH | March 16, 2007 2:06 PM

"If your friend had "done anything for her kids" and spent the first 15 years teaching her kids manners and appreciation, there wouldn't be a problem."

Whoever made this comment doesn't have a teenager, that's my guess.

This blog has been really weird today. A lot of anonymous posters and people just trying to pick fights. Maybe it's the weather.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 16, 2007 2:07 PM

"FH" said "People who complain about negativism and then post negativism are a bit hypocritical...don't you think?"

You are absolutely right! I deserve some toungue lashing for spreading the negativity. But it is hard to read 20 or 30 negative posts and reply with totally happy comments. I will try to practice some restraint in the furture.

Posted by: Meesh | March 16, 2007 2:11 PM

"It's all in the attitude. Marian's assumes that camp experiences are for the purpose of parents having safe, supervised care while parents are working. It sounds like prison or a holding pen. What child would want this?"--anon poster at 12:19

You combined my paragraphs and changed my meaning. In paragraph one, I did not intend to have the fun as an afterthought, but I do think that for most parents safety is first. Some parents use a week or two of camp within the context of a summer of childcare. I sympathize with working parents having to patchwork any assortment of sleepaway camp, day camp, whatever. It's a challenge, I would think.

In paragraph two, I was stating my thoughts on sleepaway camp in general, not only as childcare. It seems some posters are against sleepaway entirely. I haven't made that decision for my kids yet-they're too young. I might consider a week or two away when they're older--mostly so they can experience it if they want to. I didn't go to sleepaway camp myself, so I don't have a strong opinion yet. One person mentioned 6-8 weeks of sleepaway so the parents could go to Europe. That sounds terrible to me. I don't think it's necessarily terrible for parents to enjoy some time together while the kids are having fun at camp for a week or two if the camp is a good experience for the kids. I wouldn't send my kids to camp solely for the purpose of couple time. The reason for camp would be the experience of the kid. But I don't see why it's so horrible for parents to want a weekend away together here and there when their kids are school-aged.

What I said:
Working parents of school-aged children are just trying to make sure the kids have a safe (and maybe even fun) place to be when everyday school and aftercare are not available.

I don't like the idea of entire summers away at sleepaway camp--that does seem like outsourcing. A week or two seems like it could be a fun adventure for a kid though.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 2:12 PM

2:12 posting was me.

Posted by: Marian | March 16, 2007 2:17 PM

Campermom needs a reality adjustment. Yea, sleep away camps are nice, but only a very small portion of our society can afford them, and they are only really common in the northeast. What a narrow minded elitist.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 2:18 PM

I started going to sleepaway camp for a week when I was in 3rd grade, I always wanted to stay longer. As a teenager I went to soccer camp, church camp, and Europe during the summer. I had a babysitting job when I was not away. My parents did treat these trips as something to occupy my time, but rather as something to broaden my horizons. We were definitley not wealthy and I know that sending me required huge sacrifices on their part. I loved my summers and would not change them for anything. I hope to give my children the same opportunities and more.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 2:22 PM

KLB SS MD replied: "She would do anything for her kids within reason but feels they need to learn to say thank you - esp at 15 - or they will have a tough time down the road."

The crucial point is that the mom is communicating with her son, explaining her reasons. He can then decide whether it's in his own best interests to modify his behavior (I think it is, of course).

Posted by: catlady | March 16, 2007 2:24 PM

It may shock some of you who chose to have your children, but there was a time when the expectation was that women would give birth and raise children, even if they didn't want to. Hence, many older women who are now grandparents may not relish the role of grandparents since they didn't want kids in the first place.

Personality is also part of it. My father can't wait for grandkids -- he makes friends with small children in airports while the rest of us get annoyed by their screaming. My mother, on the other hand, is not a big kids person. She'll deal with them for a bit, but has very strict ideas about where children should be allowed and what they should be allowed to do (running around screaming public places is definitely a no, regardless of the age of the child).

I'm much more like my mother in this regard and don't see myself wanting to raise children. I can handle my friends' kids for a little bit, but I'm happy to return to my own kid-free space. Had I been born earlier in the 20th century I may well have been in a situation that demanded I have kids despite my reservations. I would be the distant mom type who would be interested in grandkids for about an hour, but that's it. Not all of us are kids people even if life made some of us into kids people.

Posted by: sally | March 16, 2007 2:27 PM

"DH and I take our vacations as a family, with the children. We wouldn't consider a vacation without them."

I agree here. My husband and I get an occasional night away, but vacations for us also are family vacations. We know a couple who left their 3-year old with a babysitter while they went away for 2 weeks to the islands. We were shocked they would want to be away from their child so long, especially since they also routinely left their child in daycare and with the babysitter for 12 hour days and many times during the weekend. Plus, their babysitter, while a very kind lady, was older and not very good at keeping the kid entertained for long periods of time. Lots of TV during those 2 weeks for that kid. But at least the parents had fun.

Posted by: Emily | March 16, 2007 2:32 PM

Anonymous at 2:18 PM wrote: "...sleep away camps are nice, but only a very small portion of our society can afford them, and they are only really common in the northeast..."

Actually, not. Sleepaway camps exist all over the country, and in all price ranges. I was lucky enough to attend our city's wilderness camp for two summers, which was underwritten in part by the city. For families who couldn't even afford the quite-reasonable tuition, scholarships were available. There was definitely nothing elitist about this camp in economic terms, yet it was incredibly popular with kids of all socio-economic strata, all the way through high school -- and about half our campers were from out-of-town attended, despite having to pay more to compensate for the lack of our city's subsidy. But one had to apply early to be assured of a place!

Posted by: catlady | March 16, 2007 2:32 PM

I disagree that sleep away camps are elitist and only located in the North East. I'm from a lower middle class family and attended sleep away camps in the mid-west. There are girl scout (and I suspect boy scout) camps all over the U.S. and most kids who attend them do not come from wealthy families - though they don't tend to come from very poor families either - just middle of the road families.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 16, 2007 2:33 PM

Go Meesh!

Actually, I do get "To Meesh"'s point as well. Except that I prefer the grownup family vacations with my parents/siblings to the ones that are just us and the kids! When we do the vacations with my parents and siblings, I enjoy being able to hang with these people who I grew up with and love and interact with them as adults and friends, without all the baggage that tends to come into play when you're living together 24/7 growing up, or the responsibilities/nagging/whining about all the household chores we had as kids, etc.

I do enjoy vacations with my (little) kids, but they're still "work" to some degree, because you're still doing the diapers, laundry, cooking, etc. the same as at home. Plus baby boy is old enough now to get himself in serious trouble (16 mos), so a good part of the day is chasing him around to keep him from unwitting self-destruction. :-) Basically, you still have all the basic responsibilities of being the parent -- you can relax some things (like bedtimes), but you still need to protect them and enforce the basic rules (don't care whether it's Applebee's here or Grotto Pizza in Rehoboth -- my child is not allowed to act like a raging maniac). So you're still "on" a good chunk of the time.

I know it will get easier as they get older and we can do more "fun" things and fewer "chore" things (my daughter is finally big enough to go on the big slide at the waterpark this year!!). But for now, there's a lot of "same responsibilities, better scenery" (chase boy around beach instead of park). Again, definitely fun and worth doing. But when my husband and I go away by ourselves, we have NO responsibilities other than to just have fun -- which to me is far more relaxing and refreshing!

Posted by: Laura | March 16, 2007 2:34 PM

I actually think that those all inclusive resorts/cruises, that have kid activities, daycares, or in house nannies are great for families with small children (and who can afford them). There is one in Jamaica where I wanted to go when my son was little. They provided each family with a nanny during the day, who could help with the childcare duties. They also had an onsite kids activity area where the little tykes could go and play under proper supervision. That way, the parents would get some down time every day while still being able to spend quality time with the entire family.

I hate to admit this, but when my son was about 2 or 3, we would go to Ikea on weekends and leave him in the daycare for an hour just so that we could sit down and have a cup of coffee without having to chase him. It was quite a welcome relief.

Posted by: Emily | March 16, 2007 2:40 PM

Laura said, "I enjoy being able to hang with these people who I grew up with and love and interact with them as adults and friends, without all the baggage that tends to come into play when you're living together 24/7 growing up"

Laura do you also enjoy the extended family vacations when it is with your husband's family instead of your own? How does your husband feel about it when you are vacationing with your family? His family?

Posted by: to Meesh | March 16, 2007 2:42 PM

"Anyone who thinks their kids are "exquisitely well behaved" all the time is going to be a NIGHTMARE for the teacher/principal/school the first time the little angel is disciplined. "Oh, no, little Johnny wouldn't do that. The other kid is lying/the teacher is out to get him/why are you persecuting him?"

Well you're wrong. My children respect their teachers and I respect the right of teachers to discipline my children. I think it's important to support teacher's efforts in the classroom.

The last time my 13 year old was disciplined was when he was 4 in preschool and I backed the teacher up. As I said, my children are very well behaved--I've told the older one that it is ok to mess up once in a while. We discipline at home with "logical" consequences. The point is to be consistent and fair. It only takes a few mistakes and a child who wants to avoid the consequences to have a disciplined child (assuming the right disposition).

And I posted under this name today because I rarely post, mostly lurk. And I called the nasty posters "anonymous trolls" because they don't post any "name" for themselves so it's awkward to post to nothing. I'm sure it makes these miserable people feel better about their horrible lives to make snarky comments to others.

Posted by: anon today | March 16, 2007 2:43 PM

Guess what people - they are going to grow up and leave and you will never have to feed them, face them in the morning or do anything you don't want to do with them again.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 2:44 PM

Emily, lol! Love the Ikea story.

When I was out on maternity leave and still nursing, I used to take my brother with me to Wegman's -- he toted the baby in the Baby Bjorn, but I was close enough in case the baby needed a snack.

Posted by: Laura | March 16, 2007 2:45 PM

I know a few couples that brought Grandma with them to Disney World so the couple could go off and do their thing while Grandma watch the kids.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 16, 2007 2:49 PM

"Guess what people - they are going to grow up and leave and you will never have to feed them, face them in the morning or do anything you don't want to do with them again."

Actually, I think about this quite often. Which is why I try to enjoy the time I spend with my little one as much as possible. But there are times that a parent needs a break. And I also think that you are a better parent and a better person when you recognize that you need some down time, and take it. As parents, we have to take care of ourselves for the sake of our kids, because if we become depleted, we will not be able to parent them as well as we ought. It's like what the flight attendants tell you about the oxygen mask on an airplane. First, put it on your own face. Then put one on your child. If you pass out from lack of oxygen, you won't be able to help your child.

Posted by: Emily | March 16, 2007 2:50 PM

"Laura do you also enjoy the extended family vacations when it is with your husband's family instead of your own? How does your husband feel about it when you are vacationing with your family? His family?"

Actually, yeah. Mostly. :-) We had one year where both my dad and his parents decided to do family beach weeks, and that was too much -- it was basically all our vacation time for the year, so we had no time either by ourselves or just with our kids, which was tough. And I also find 3-5 days works better than a full week. And do enjoy it more than my husband does (even his family!) -- another reason to keep them somewhat short and not too frequent!

Don't get me wrong, it's not some perfect little picture of a family. Seems like every time, there's some sort of blow up (you just can never pick who or what in advance -- we should really start a pool). But both of our families are sort of scattered, and we all genuinely like each other (well, for the most part), so when we can all get together, I really appreciate that. Just this Christmas, we had my dad's whole side of the family (me, my brothers, our kids, and my dad's 80+yr-old mom) down at his house for a week. It was really special to see my Granny with all of the grandkids and great-grandkids on this side of the family. Even if she and my husband both wanted to throttle my brother by day 3. :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 16, 2007 2:56 PM

"Guess what people - they are going to grow up and leave and you will never have to feed them, face them in the morning or do anything you don't want to do with them again."

Right and now I am dealing with aging parents who will probably be around for another 25 years! Any volunteers?

I'm exhausted and I need a break!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 2:57 PM

The original comment wondering whether sleepaway camps are "an east coast thing" was in reference to 8-10 week, basically summer-long camps - last time I checked, girl scout camp is not one of those.

Posted by: TakomaMom | March 16, 2007 2:59 PM

TakomaMom-

My sister was a girl scout camp counselor for years in the midwest and they frequently had girls who stayed the whole summer.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 16, 2007 3:03 PM

i do think there's a compromise between parents only vacations and full-on family 100% vacations. we found a lovely little dive lodge on one of the bahamian out islands that provides wonderful babysitters for a very modest price. dh and i spend the mornings on/in the water while DSs explore with their sitters. we then have family time from lunch on. it's worked so well we'll be returning for the third year straight in may.

there are some great resources on the web for family travel that doesn't make mom and dad feel like they need a vacation to recover from their family vacation.

try: www.familytravelforum.com and www.familytravelnetwork.com

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 16, 2007 3:10 PM

Catlady,
"The crucial point is that the mom is communicating with her son, explaining her reasons. He can then decide whether it's in his own best interests to modify his behavior (I think it is, of course)."

Exactly my point (which you made much better). We aren't doing kids any favors when we go back on our word and allow them to continue with inappropriate behaviour (as defined by the parent, in this case a simple "Thanks mom for letting me go to a very expensive camp").

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 3:10 PM

TakomaMom - Many sleep away camps offer "stay-over" nights for kids participating in multiple sessions. so, even though each session may be listed as 1 or 2 weeks, it's quite easy to string 3 or 4 sessions together to cover the entire summer.

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 16, 2007 3:15 PM

Is anyone else waiting nervously for child driving home from college today (spring break) through all the crappy east coast weather?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 3:21 PM

Where is child coming from? MD/DC is just rain right now so no worries other than horrific traffic.
Does that help?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 3:22 PM

Actually, it is sleeting in baltimore right now.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 3:26 PM

Well, he will be coming through Baltimore, so sleet isn't good. Also, not much experience driving in horrific traffic. Baltimore beltway on a rainy Friday is no picnic. I hope there aren't too many St Patrick's Day revelers on the roads.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 3:31 PM

I will cross my fingers for you parent of traveling child.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 3:33 PM

thanks, klb.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 3:34 PM

Thanks for the clarification - guess that's what happens when you spend your whole childhood in the middle of nowhere - you get skewed perceptions of what's "normal" :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | March 16, 2007 3:34 PM

Parent of traveling child,
I moved here to MD when I was 21 and traveled back and forth to CT at least 2 if not 3 times a year for the last....years (ok - 29).
I can only imagine now how my parents (dad mostly) must have worried when I left his house at 5 am in a snowstorm to get back here to work.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 3:38 PM

I just got a call from my stepfather that it is very slippery outside and to be cafeful. We are in Rockville, so everyone, drive safely if you are in the area.

Posted by: Emily | March 16, 2007 3:46 PM

"Being together 24/7 can be over-rated and kind of co-dependent.....Getting away from your family sometimes can teach you how much you love them."

Oh PLEASE. Some of us love our kids and our kids love us and we like being together and don't need to get away from each other to realize that.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 3:47 PM

Anonymous at 3:47 PM wrote: "Some of us love our kids and our kids love us and we like being together and don't need to get away from each other to realize that."

Part of children's development involves individuating: they can't learn to become appropriately independent adults without testing their figurative wings throughout their youth.

Posted by: catlady | March 16, 2007 3:56 PM

"Parents need a break too."

Not all of us do.

"I went to Girl Scout camp or some other camp for a week every summer from the time I was 8 until I was old enough to get a summer job. My brothers and sister went too and we all loved it. Kids really need to experience that kind of independence at some point before going off to college!"

What kind of independence is really built at summer camp? It's not like they're getting an apartment and a job and cooking for themselves and paying the electric bill and car insurance - they're going to camp where they're cared for by someone other than mom and dad. Whoop de doop. They get the same kind of independence at school or daycare or daycamp or an all day basketball clinic. Camp is beneficial because it's fun and might be enriching. It doesn't build independence anymore than any other thing you send your child to.

"What's so very funny, is how entitled to free time and a break everyone seems to feel. My parents have been married 40 years and they didn't have a vacation alone together until my brother and I were in college. Now everyone seems to think that they "need" 5 days in the Bahamas to ensure that their marriage is healthy. Give me a break."

I thought everyone thought they need 5 days caring for your kids to ensure that they're good grandparents. Who cares about what they want.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 3:57 PM

Snarky today, are we? Blame it on the weather. My camp stories--I went to a church camp two summers in a row for a week each time. It was fun and I look back on it with fondness. I wished I could have gone to a more traditional camp for a longer period of time, but what the heck do I know? I cried on visitor's day. I got over it and left home at 17.

I go to the Bahamas with my husband every other year. Alone. We LOVE it. And we are happy to see our kids when we get back, and they are happy to see us. They are a little spoiled by Gramma, though.

We also take a vacation with our entire extended family for 2 weeks in August. I drink a lot in August.

They are going to sleep away camp for the first time this summer---they are both so excited. I am nervous, but they will get to spend another week with their grandparents directly after, so I know they will be happy.

I say if you can afford camp and feel good about it and your kid is at least 8 years old, then send them! And enjoy the break. I know I will--and my kids are damn close to perfect.

Posted by: anon | March 16, 2007 4:04 PM

"Many sleep away camps offer "stay-over" nights for kids participating in multiple sessions. so, even though each session may be listed as 1 or 2 weeks, it's quite easy to string 3 or 4 sessions together to cover the entire summer."

That may be true in other areas of the country, but it's not (or very rarely) done here on the west coast. I have never heard of anyone here using overnight camp as "daycare".

Posted by: momof4 | March 16, 2007 4:07 PM

sleeting here in western fairfax county, too. i used to drive between boston and philly in all kinds of god-awful weather - think dad may still not have forgiven me, even after 20 years.

thinking good thoughts for traveling child and parent.

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 16, 2007 4:08 PM

We also take a vacation with our entire extended family for 2 weeks in August. I drink a lot in August.

LMAO. Is it the extended family or being on vacation?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 4:10 PM

Sending my soon-to-be 8 year old all the way to Mississippi to Camp Pecanway (grandparents) this summer. On a plane by himself.

Camp is awfully long. I'd like to send him for a week, and he really wants to go, but I don't know about more than that. I had to go to my mom's every summer for a month and I missed out on stuff that happened at home.

Posted by: dynagirl | March 16, 2007 4:15 PM

To anonymous at 3:56PM who wrote: "What kind of independence is really built at summer camp? It's not like they're getting an apartment and a job and cooking for themselves and paying the electric bill and car insurance - they're going to camp where they're cared for by someone other than mom and dad."

What anonymous suggests is the life-skill equivalent of throwing him/her into a deep river and saying, "Swim." Tragic accidents can ensue with such an approach. Like swimming, independence is best achieved by letting children practice small parts of it gradually under competent instruction, in a secure environment, so they can develop the skills to cope in the absence of their parents.

Posted by: catlady | March 16, 2007 4:17 PM

Correction: should re "To anonymous at 3:57 PM."

Posted by: catlady | March 16, 2007 4:22 PM

momof4 - not sure i understand your comment about overnight camp as daycare. the gist of my comment was that many of the camps i'm familiar with offer a way to bridge 2 sessions without heading home for one night (e.g., session 1 ends on saturday and session 2 starts on sunday) if you're registered for both sessions.

i did this at girl scout camps in NY, TX and PA as a child. i also saw it offered by a number of camps at the camp expo i went to in jan. but hey - the west coast often goes its own way, so guess this is just another example of how different the coasts can be.

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 16, 2007 4:28 PM

"What kind of independence is really built at summer camp?"

Quite simply, emotional independence is built from these trips to camp, grandma's or another family member's

Posted by: Fred | March 16, 2007 4:35 PM

What Fred said plus - when you go to a different place you learn about how other people live, even if it is family. When you go to a different place and sleep there you learn A LOT about how other people live (grandpa snores really loud and grandma makes you brush the crumbs from the table after every meal).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 4:38 PM

Hey Marian,


The creepy van is out of the garage and running today! In all of its hunter green glory!

Posted by: Fred | March 16, 2007 4:39 PM

woo hoo...the creepy van is out....

have a great weekend!

Posted by: dotted | March 16, 2007 4:44 PM

Ooooo. . .I'll bet it looks great with a nice coat of road salt!

Posted by: Marian | March 16, 2007 4:45 PM

Fred,
We missed you today.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 4:47 PM

Not much road salt down here in New Orleans! But it did come from Ill.

Another reason it is called the creepy van is that there are no seats in it, other than driver's and front passanger's.

So it is sort of like a tin can inside.

There is also an official creepy van song!

Posted by: Fred | March 16, 2007 4:48 PM

it's about time for someone to whine about regulars making off-topic posts late on a Friday . . .

Fred, Is there a CTOTD?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 16, 2007 4:53 PM

Cultural Tidbit of the Day

Opera comes from the Latin "Opus". Opus can be translated as "work."

Although some people may think that it is a corruption of the root word "taedium"

Posted by: Fred | March 16, 2007 4:59 PM

Thanks, Fred!

Monday you'll explain how opera could be a corruption of the root word, taedium? or was that intended as a joke?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 16, 2007 5:03 PM

How does an opus differ from an opera then?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 5:03 PM

Fred, is this a joke about the fact that you find opera tedious? Duh on me if it is.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 5:06 PM


Opus is a musical work or composition. Opera is the plural form of opus.

And yes, it is a small joke! mea culpa, mea culpa!

(But I do like Carmen Jones!)

Posted by: Fred | March 16, 2007 5:13 PM

Fred,
Did I get the joke right? If so, not bad for a non-latin scholar eh? (pat on back pat on back pat on back)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 16, 2007 5:16 PM

"not sure i understand your comment about overnight camp as daycare. the gist of my comment was that many of the camps i'm familiar with offer a way to bridge 2 sessions without heading home for one night (e.g., session 1 ends on saturday and session 2 starts on sunday) if you're registered for both sessions. "

I understand the concept of stringing together 2 sessions of camp. I'm saying that I've never seen it done here.

My comment about daycare was harmless - I wasn't making a negative remark about it at all. It's just that it seems like most people who are sending their kids to several weeks of camp are doing so because they need something to occupy their children during the summer while they're working. If you just want your child to have the experience of overnight camp, which I think is positive, you would be more likely to just send them for one session rather than every session all summer long.

Posted by: momof4 | March 16, 2007 6:10 PM

traveling child made it home safely. Thanks all.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2007 6:37 PM

My child behaves exquistely, when she is asleep!

Posted by: the original anon | March 16, 2007 6:48 PM

"Anonymous at 3:47 PM wrote: "Some of us love our kids and our kids love us and we like being together and don't need to get away from each other to realize that."

Part of children's development involves individuating: they can't learn to become appropriately independent adults without testing their figurative wings throughout their youth."

We would never take a vacation without our children because we like being around them and we don't feel a need to get away from them for more than an evening out. That doesn't mean that we wouldn't let them go other places for a night or two. They have plenty of sleepovers with friends, grandparents, and aunts. It's just never for more than a night or two. I understand that there are opportunities for time away once they are in high school with various trips for sports, music, etc. Until that time, we don't see a need for them to be gone for more than a few days. Family is local, if that makes a difference.

Posted by: another thought | March 16, 2007 6:50 PM

I'm happy your traveling child made it home. It appears to be hairy up there!

Posted by: dotted | March 16, 2007 9:42 PM

"We would never take a vacation without our children because we like being around them and we don't feel a need to get away from them for more than an evening out. That doesn't mean that we wouldn't let them go other places for a night or two. They have plenty of sleepovers with friends, grandparents, and aunts. It's just never for more than a night or two. I understand that there are opportunities for time away once they are in high school with various trips for sports, music, etc. Until that time, we don't see a need for them to be gone for more than a few days. Family is local, if that makes a difference. "

This was exactly my point about "how does camp build independence any more than other activities?" Everyone jumped all over the whole "if you don't let your children experience emotional independence they'll be scarred for life" thing. Well, maybe so - but kids get chances to experience emotional independence by being away from home and their parents when they go to school, to soccer practice, to daycare, to grandma's house, to sleepovers at friends' houses, on church retreats, on school trips for various activities (sports, music, leadership, etc.), etc.

One poster said "if they don't go to camp they won't have the independence they need to go away to college" (paraphrased) and that's just so not true. Overnight camp doesn't teach them to be independent any more than a ton of other activities do.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 17, 2007 11:43 AM

When I was growing up, I spent a number of years between the ages of perhaps 10-15 staying with my grandmother for up to a month at a time. This was truly a blessed time for both of us - it benefited both of us to spend such large blocks of time together and get to know each other as "adults". I don't think my parents sent me to be with her because they were trying to get rid of me (they still had my college-age older sister at home for summers) but I feel they did it because they knew that both my grandmother and I would enjoy it (which we did, immensely).

When my daughter is old enough, I'd love for her to be able to spend time each summer with her grandmother who lives in another state. I think it would be a great experience for both of them and I know we'd like the opportunity to travel without her from time to time.

Posted by: Vienna mom | March 19, 2007 8:34 AM

I spent many summers going to day camp for 8 weeks. My parents were divorced and my Mom worked full time. It was the type of camp that picked you up at your house before heading out into the country where the camp was.

I was always jealous that my sister got to go to sleep away camp but I didn't. She was 3 years older than me.

I did enjoy camp a lot! Swimming, making lanyards, crafts, canoeing, fishing - definitely different than Philly! (Seneca Day Camp)

Posted by: bethesda | March 19, 2007 12:08 PM

As a former camp counselor I would advise against long camp stays. I worked a two-week camp for 8-12 years olds. some kids did double sessions. The camp was not that formal and did not require birth certificates or evidence of age. Parents sent kids as young and 6 and as old as 15 to this camp. At least the 6 year old had a 12 year old sibling at the camp that was supposed to look after him. Nevertheless, too much is going on with that age group. They are either introverted or overly extroverted during the course of the camp trying to prove themselves with a bunch of strangers. Rarely do they get a chance to be themselves and relax and enjoy the experience. in the end many do not truly enjoy the experience for what it should be.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2007 5:01 PM

When I was four, my grandparents drove from Green Bay, Wisconsin to MoCo to visit and take me back to stay with them for the summer. Both sets of grandparents and my uncle/aunt lived in Green Bay, so I was able to stay with each in turn and got plenty of attention and affection. My uncle/aunt drove me back and stayed for a visit. That was the best summer of my childhood. If you have responsible family who can make this type of visit happen, the child should be allowed to go. It can be a wonderful experience.

Posted by: Outspoken | March 20, 2007 8:42 AM

When my younger brother and I were 10 and 8 respectively, we were sent by plane to stay with my paternal grandparents for 3 weeks in the summer. We were mature and responsible enough for the trip down and we loved the change of pace and surroundings. We were my grandparents' only grandchildren, so we were spoiled rotten! I say if you have the option, do it when your children are mature enough!

Posted by: Jennifer in NJ | March 20, 2007 1:41 PM

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