Hey, Camp Fans!
For most kids, summer camp is the experience of their lifetime. I know I can still remember my summer camp stay even though it happened forever ago. And the reason it’s so fresh in my memory is because of the impact it had on my life. One of my first experiences being away from home, it was more than just loads of fun, it was a growing experience.
However, the same reason that makes summer camp so much fun can also present challenges like homesickness. Pretty much every camper (especially every first-time camper) is going to experience some degree of homesickness. Cases of extreme homesickness are rather rare, but even so, there are things you can do to help reduce the potential of how homesick your kid feels during his or her camp stay.
Last week I talked about lessening your child’s homesickness by picking the right length of camp stay for them. But another way to ease any potential homesick feelings at camp is to set up times for your kid to spend away from home before their camp stay to help them get used to the feeling of not having mom and dad around.
This can be done easily by arranging a weekend for your kid to stay with Grandma and Grandpa or at a friend’s house. Even just a single-night sleepover or slumber party is valuable in helping acclimate your kid to being away from home. The more acclimated your kid is, the less homesick they should feel at camp.
You should use these sleepovers and weekend trips as practice runs not just for your kid, but for yourself as well. You won’t be able to call your kid on a whim when they’re at camp so don’t call them when they’re off on these short visits. If your kid is away long enough you might even want to write them a letter since this is how you’ll keep in touch come time for their camp stay.
When your kid gets back from their arranged time away be sure to talk to them about how their trip went.
Ask them about things that they would have done differently if they could have. Ask them about things that they wish had gone differently that they wouldn’t have been able to change anyway (such as the weather). Though there’s nothing you can do directly about such a situation, simply making your kid aware of the fact that unfavorable weather is a possibility can help them to cope with the idea of the things outside of their control.
Talk to them directly about homesickness as well. Make sure they understand that it’s normal to miss being home, but that they should try and focus on having a good time instead of missing home. It’s this act alone that diffuses most cases of homesickness.
As always, thanks for reading!