Being separated from your child, even just for a short period of time when the kids are at camp, is difficult, but it’s harder for the kids. Just a tearful call from them makes you want to go out and bring them home.
Homesickness is very common when a child is in an unfamiliar environment. Most young people feel sad when spending time away from their families. The level of homesickness depends on the children’s age. Younger children tend to have severe feeling of homesickness compared to older children. Also those with less or no camp experience have difficulty in managing homesickness.
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Camping is supposed to be a positive experience. Kids who had fun experiences with camping oftentimes are excited to return the following year. Knowing that your kid is looking forward to this event is reassuring.
Here are few suggestions that will help you get ready before camp begins:
Homesickness is only temporary and is expected to abate after a day or two. Better ask the camp director what about the activities they plan to do in the camp then talk with your child and encourage him or her to stay at the camp and tell him/her about the activities that they might be interested in doing.
Create a backup plan
Some children have more serious symptoms like constant crying, loss of appetite, or problems with sleeping for successive days. In case your child experiences that, think ahead of how you plan to handle it.
Address your child’s worries
If your child brings it up, pay attention to his/her issues. Help the child solve the issue by using facts and creating a plan. Share with him or her what you know about the place and the people to ease the child’s worries.
Remind your kids that camp is fun
Let the child imagine himself/herself in that place, enjoying, learning, and doing new things.
Listen to your child
If the child has a particular concern, like “What if I miss you?” don’t immediately offer a solution. Let him figure out first what he plans to do if that happens. The child might have better ideas.
Allow some sleepovers
If your child has never experienced a night without you, it’s time for you to arrange for your kid to have some sleepovers with friends. You might receive a few calls or texts on the first nights, but it will eventually diminish as they become used to being away from you.
Make some plans
Once your child leaves, you might feel very empty. So make plans that will divert your attention from homesickness. You could let your child wear a GPS tracker just so you feel reassured that you can still keep an eye on him/her while they’re at the camp and know that he/she is safe.