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arents spend a lot of time trying to motivate kids. We use chore charts, checklists, reminders and rewards to get them to feed the dog, clean their rooms, and complete schoolwork. But these techniques don’t change behavior long-term. Real motivation must come from within. The Psychology of Summer Camp Time at camp may be all it takes to spark a little self-determination in your kid. I know it sounds too good to be true. Your school-age 16 education central

slacker – the one who expects you to find his homework and pack his lunch – might start doing some things for himself. And your often-bored tween might come home with more pep in her step. Psychologists use self-determination theory (SDT) to explain why some experiences make us feel engaged and excited while others drain and deplete us.The premise is simple: when an activity meets our needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, we are energized and empowered. Kids’ basic needs are no different from adults’. Kids want to do things for themselves. They crave a sense of accomplishment and routinely seek feedback. (“Look what I made, Mom!”) And kids thrive on connections with loved suburban family | subfam.com

ones and peers. Feelings of belongingness boost their self-worth. Summer camp offers loads of opportunities to meet all these needs. And that should make kids (and the parents who love them) very happy campers indeed.

Autonomy The need for autonomy is satisfied when kids control their own lives. At camp, your son will have endless opportunities care for himself. Staff won’t select his clothes, organize the contents of locker, or remind him to put on deodorant. No one will delay dessert until he eats his veggies. Independence is what camp is all about. Don’t worry. The world won’t stop if your son wears the same shirt three days in a row. His peers will speak up if he gets super stinky. During the school year, many kids jump from March/April 2015

Profile for Suburban Family Magazine

Suburban Family ~ March + April 2015  

2015 Annual Race Guide, Summer Camps, Springtime Fun, Chicago Events, Dining Guide

Suburban Family ~ March + April 2015  

2015 Annual Race Guide, Summer Camps, Springtime Fun, Chicago Events, Dining Guide