Being separated from your child, even just for a short period like when the kids are at camp, can be unbearably difficult for any parent, but never forget that it can be even harder for the kids. Just a tearful call from them makes you want to go out and bring them home.
Homesickness at summer camp is very common because your child is in an unfamiliar environment. Most young people feel sad when they have to spend time away from their families. The level of homesickness at summer camp depends on the children’s age. Younger children tend to have severe feeling of homesickness compared to older children. Also, those with less to no camp experience at all 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.
How to Help Kids Cope with Homesickness at Summer Camp
Here are few summer camp tips that will help you get ready before camp begins.
Homesickness at summer camp is only temporary and is expected to abate after a day or two. Better ask the camp director about the activities they plan to do at the camp, then talk with your child and encourage them to stay at the camp. You can also talk 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 their summer camp worries. Help the child solve the issue by using facts and creating a plan. Share with them what you know about the place and the people to ease their 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 them figure out first what they plan 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 use a GPS child tracker just so you feel reassured that you can still keep an eye on them while they’re at the camp and know that they are safe.