You know what summer camps really got right?
At summer camp, everyone sings. There are breakfast songs and lunch songs and done with dinner songs and swimming songs and walking somewhere songs and bedtime songs. There are even contests where someone shouts out a random word (like say, “alligator”) and groups have to sing a song that has that word in it.
What’s right about this?
The little kids sing. The big kids sing. It’s fun. It’s silly. It’s expected. It helps everyone move from place to place. It’s a ritual. There are sing-song songs, and hand motion songs and repeat after me songs and chant songs.
Here is a YouTube playlist of some camp songs- in case you need to get inspired.
Here’s the secret that every camp counselor knows: everything is better with a song, no one cares if you’re off-tune, and anything can be made into a song. This carefree, must-sing attitude would do well to sneak into your everday parenting.
Sometimes, we grow up and become adults and have kids and forget that somewhere inside of us, there’s a kid (or maybe a camp counselor) that loved (or would have loved) camp songs. Parenting seems so serious. But the truth of the matter is, a little levity- and a whole lot of camp songs- could do us an awful lot for supporting our challenging children. We’d be singing- helping them understand. We’d be staying light and bright ourselves- helping them to co-regulate and stay calm. We’d be entering their worlds, having fun, keeping it light.
So I urge you: unearth your inner camp counselor. Let her out to play. Encourage her. Be silly with her.
Your kids will follow.