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Is Your Camper Homesick?

Is Your Camper Homesick?

Coping with a homesick child is easier than you think!

By FamilyTime

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The idea of going to sleep-away camp is so exciting and alluring, many kids and their parents plunge into the experience without considering how to handle homesickness.

Your child may take to camp without a care, but many children experience the mild separation anxiety and sadness that can only be dubbed "homesickness." There are a few commonsense tips every parent and child can practice to ease the dull ache.

Keep in Touch
Send your child letters, postcards, silly cards, and magazines. Keep your letters breezy and chatty. Ask about counselors and other campers by name.

Encourage your child to participate in camp activities. Nothing banishes the blues as quickly as fun activities. By the end of the day, she will be so exhausted, she'll fall asleep in minutes.

Encourage her to take lots of pictures of her friends, counselors, cabin, and camp activities. Knowing she will be sharing the experience with you is reassuring.

Many camps discourage telephone calls -- for good reason. If yours does not, keep the calls to a minimum. Hearing your voice may trigger waning homesickness. Write notes, letters and emails (if allowed) instead.

Don't Overreact
The good news about homesickness is that most kids get over it in a few days. This transitional time may be painful -- and you may get tearful phone calls or heart-wrenching letters -- but it passes.

It's rarely a good idea for parents to rush to the camp and rescue their child. Learning to cope on his own is a valuable lesson your camper will learn, and he will feel immensely and rightfully proud of himself when he does.

If symptoms are serious - nightmares that don't stop after a couple of nights, difficulty eating, stomach cramps, and frequent headaches - your child should consult a counselor or other adult. In some extreme cases, the best option is for the child to leave camp.

The End of Homesickness
Most of time homesickness becomes a distant memory by the time camp is over. The same kids who wrote sad letters during the first few days will scoff at the idea later.

Isn't this what camp is all about? Teaching self reliance and offering good times that melt into long-lasting memories!

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