Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

3 Tips to manage homesickness like a pro

  • Sugar Bay
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

When you introduce the idea of camp to your children, the first reaction expected is of excitement, looking forward to making new friends, being away from home and new experiences. For some children, however, the idea of being away from home might be frightening and a cause of anxiety.

If homesickness isn’t managed properly, your child may not take home the full excitement that comes after attending camp, and it may deepen the anxiety of being away from home next time.

Here are three ways you can help your child with homesickness and anxiety without being part of the problem.

1. Have a conversation before camp

When the first couple of conversations are thrown around about the idea of camp, slight inserts of, “How exciting would it be to spend some time with new people?” should be thrown in the mix. It’s very important that you phrase your language in a positive context and emphasize the excitement and benefits of this new experience.

When there is hesitancy, or when you can sense your child’s nervousness, that’s when you probe further in an attempt to discover where their anxiety stems from. This will help both of you move forward in finding a solution.

2. Stay in touch

Keeping in touch may be unfavourable when handling homesickness, as this could trigger your child to want to go home. The trick here is how you do it. When contact between you and your child occurs, again, you need to be on the positive end. Ask questions. For example, what has been their favourite activity so far, who is their favourite counselor, what food they’re eating. This allows them to focus on the good aspects of camp, and storytelling allows them to carve their own notions on their experience. This will help them forget about their anxiety for a while.

When your child starts exhibiting anxiety, affirm that you understand. Don’t do this in a sympathetic way, but rather as an empathetic parent. This allows them to unburden their feelings, which often makes them feel better, especially when you remain positive, offer encouragement and advice. This will motivate them to conquer the situation on their own, while knowing that they have a support system.

3. Talk to the Counselors at camp

When you sense your child really isn’t coping, you can speak to one of the counselors at camp to see if they can’t help your child cope better. Now this doesn’t mean that your child will be getting special treatment, but rather that the counselors are aware and will approach the situation in a way that will equip your child to overcome this hurdle. This is not an opportunity for you to tell the counselor how to handle the situation, but rather a heads up from you as a parent to the camp.

We hope that these tips help your child overcome their homesickness, so that they don’t miss out on an incredible camp experience and all the personal benefits it has to offer.

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  • Felicia Austin August 19, 2019 at 11:22 am

    I love this. Can you maybe write a post about the opposite, when the parent’s have kid home sickness…LOL when they miss their kids so much they need some reassurance haha. I’m that parent who always worries about their kids and misses them so much when they’re not here. When my oldest went away for a whole week I was calling her every single day. She was like Mom you call me too much lol My kids are like C-ya! Anywas, I loved this post and love your writing style!

  • Leana Lourens August 20, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Hi Julie. I like your tips. As adults qe don’t always know that chirldren have very similar fears to us. Lovely tips thank you 🙂

  • Nicole August 20, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    These are such great tips! As someone who used to suffer with homesickness often as a child, I know it can be quite stressful. Now as an adult, I can’t stay away from home for too long and I’m sure it’s because I didn’t learn to manage those feelings and emotions as a child.

  • Lynne Huysamen August 20, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    These are great tips for kids that are going to a camp! We have not yet sent our kids away on anything like that but they do go and stay with my parents for a week during every school holiday. It was very hard in the beginning, especially the first time but the kids quickly got into the swing of things. It is all about preparing them properly for what is to come and talking to them.

  • Karmen August 21, 2019 at 5:33 am

    This is a great reminder that children are similar to us adults. I always try to be as much understanding of her fears as I can, but this is a great reminder list. Thank you.

  • Vidya Sury August 21, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Staying in touch is so important, especially if a child is off to camp for the first time! And also, talking to the child before she leaves for camp is crucial. Getting them to talk can go a long way in allaying their fears!

  • Rubitah Abraham August 22, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Some great tips for delicately approaching the idea of a camp to children who may not be so expressive or find it difficult to get along with others. Thank you for sharing this post!🙂

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