Homesick At Sleepaway Camp In Saratoga?
It is natural for children to feel homesick while away at overnight summer camp. As a parent, there are steps you can take to better prepare them for this separation and help alleviate their worries about sleepaway camp...
Keep in mind, feelings of anxiety may start even before your child leaves for camp, and it is very common for kids to feel a degree of homesickness while away. Use these tips to help prepare your child for camp and avoid homesick woes.
Talk About It
Even before your child leaves, take time to talk about camp and try to understand any fears they may have about overnight summer camp. Be supportive and optimistic, stressing the good points and benefits of summer camp with your child, and be sure to let them know that you will be there for them if it gets too difficult. You can even give them a special charm, note or memento to carry with them to sleepaway camp that they can take out any time they are missing you.
Plan Sleepovers Ahead Of Time
If your child is not used to sleeping away from home, sleepaway camp will likely be a greater shock to them. To help prepare them for this adventure, plan a few sleepovers in the months leading up to camp. Cousins, friends and grandparents would be thrilled at the opportunity, and you will get a few nights off! This is a great way to ease your child into the away-from-home experience of sleepaway camp.
Have A Friend Go
Many times, children are afraid of the unknown and the unfamiliar. You may see an improvement in your child's confidence when you find a friend or family member to attend the same overnight summer camp. Knowing a familiar face will be there may make those first few days (and nights) at sleepaway camp easier to get through without feeling homesick.
Give Them Time
Lastly, don't rush to the rescue if you receive a letter or phone call from sleepaway camp and your child sounds homesick. This is a very common occurrence and doesn't always mean that sleepaway camp isn't for them. Oftentimes such anxiety can be brought on suddenly by an unfavorable social encounter that day, and your child will simply need time to heal. Most likely they will be having fun again in no time, so give them encouragement while they're down and give them time to cheer up.
As a parent, remember homesickness is not your child's fault and should not be treated as a rite of passage that they need to endure. Some children may need to come home early, but if you believe they can overcome it, then give them a chance. Remember, allowing your child to conquer their fears and overcome an emotional obstacle without mommy or daddy coming to the rescue can help your child make great strides in resilience, independence and self esteem.