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Beating the Homesick Blues
- Practice makes perfect—Start with small chunks of time away from home, such as an afternoon at a friend's house. Shorter trips away help build confidence and ease fears your child may have.
- Invlove your child in plans about being away—being part of the decisions gives them some control over the situation that makes homesickness less likely.
- Talk with your child—Let your child know what to expect and let them express their concerns. You may be able to talk through many situations that they will encounter and how they might be dealt with.
- Pack some familiar items—Have your child bring some favorite items, such as a pillow or a favorite pair of pajamas.
- Keep busy—Activities can help create distraction, especially if they're fun.
- Keep communication lines open—Set a time to make contact, but be careful about how much time is spent on a phone call or text messaging. It's important to allow separation so your child can adjust to new surroundings.
- Plan ahead—If an extended summer camp stay is coming up, talk with a camp counselor about their plans for handling children who are homesick. Keep in mind the goal is to have your child stay at camp.
- Buddy up—Send your child head off to summer camp with a best friend, sibling or cousin.
A Happy Ending
American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org
Mental Health America http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net
Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.ontario.cmha.ca
Canadian Psychological Association http://www.cpa.ca
AAP helps young camper stay safe and healthy. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/AAP-Helps-Young-Campers-Stay-Safe-and-Healthy.aspx. Updated March 28, 2011. Accessed November 13, 2013.
Homesickness. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/home%5Ffamily/homesickness.html. Updated April 2012. Accessed November 13, 2013.
Homesickness—expert advice for parents. American Camp Association website. Available at: http://www.campparents.org/homesickness. Accessed November 13, 2013.
Summer camp blues: helping children cope with their first sleep-away camp experience. American Psychological Association website. Available at: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/camp.aspx. Accessed November 13, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2013
- Update Date: 11/13/2013