How to deal with homesickness at camp

how to deal with homesickness at camp

Homesickness

Thurber and the American Camp Association (ACA) suggest the following tips for parents to help their child deal with homesickness at summer camp: Encourage your child's independence throughout the year. Practice separations, such as sleepovers at a friend's house, can simulate the camp environment. Here are some helpful tips for preventing summer camp homesickness in the first place: Try separation from parents by spending a week away from home. Take things of value to summer camp like a stuffed animal or favorite toy. Take family pictures along.

This article is written in what is the best gift for a teacher on christmas of my late Aunt Jean.

As a former girl scout and camp counselor, Jean Marie Chisholm was an inspiration for my own career running summer camps. Throughout her personal and professional life, Jean knew how to care for people with disabilities, terminal conditions, and other health issues … as well as for lonely nieces and nephews when we were far from home as children and college students.

My first memories of Jean are when she traveled down from Wisconsin to take care of me, just 3 years old in Columbus GA, during a week when my parents and older siblings went on a trip to visit cousins in Nashville.

She was diagnosed with cancer a month later, refused invasive treatments saying she lived a good life and was fine with passing, then died peacefully without pain later in the winter. Wolf Camp and the Conservation College is fortunate to have a homesickness specialist on staff.

Lily, our camp dog who, in addition to being a counselor specializing in homesickness prevention, also happens to be our best wildlife tracker as well human tracker in case anyone gets lost. One of the first things we do when campers and apprentices arrive in the summer is to introduce Lily. Still, we continue to serve homesick participants — about 1 per week who are debilitated by feelings of loneliness.

Part of our job is to make certain tricks of the trade part of the camp culture which prevent normal feelings of homesickness from getting out of hand. These include:. We also screen for severe homesickness when campers register. Nevertheless, we still had 1 in 30 kids arrive at camp and then experience severe homesickness in the summer ofand it took some convincing when we asked parents to pick them up.

According to research done by Dr. In my opinion, how to deal with homesickness at camp most important of those ACA tips include:.

Having suffered from severe homesickness and loneliness as a child and young adult myself, I meant to write this article for years. It was when a mom told me that another excellent camp informed her it always takes them days to help super homesick kids get beyond their loneliness.

Suffering for a week is not worth an optional experience when it can be done a year or two later. I know life is short, but childhood is even shorter. Make learning enjoyable, at least until age 14 when the weight of world problems can no longer be kept hidden. If you decide to go ahead and speed up the process by putting a young person through a traumatic 10 days away from home, then yes, they will know how to push through the next homesickness experience as well.

There are sometimes endless learning options closer to home. But if a young adult, or parent of a child, really wants the homesickness to be overcome, then they should go somewhere with a 2 week minimum experience. As the anecdote above and my experience suggests, give it about days to adapt and deal with the new reality, at which time the subsequent days can feel like a revelation.

For longer experiences like a full-summer program, or a semester away from how to deal with homesickness at camp, homesickness sometimes occurs after the 1 month point, especially for young adults who smoked marijuana up until the day they started the program.

Tobacco users, on the other hand, are temperamental for the first month as they withdraw from nicotine. Then how to deal with homesickness at camp pot smokers can start having relationship issues, perhaps because their mellowing, fat-soluble drug of choice finally passed from their system.

Emotional readiness is different for everyone. Often, people with the tightest healthiest family relationships are the least homesick, while the folks with conflictual relationships are the most lonely and want to go home. I was graced as a child with an amazing physical, mental and spiritual upbringing, but the emotional state of affairs in our family was unhealthy: lots of narcissism and codependence; tons of arguing and passive aggression, no positive affirmation or unassuming communication.

Others need to wait until they are 14 to go to away for what do you need to bond someone out of jail than a night. Some people need to wait until they are 21 to leave home for college.

Everyone is different. Yes, to learn and grow, we should be regularly pushed near the edges of our emotional as well as physical, mental and spiritual realms, but not so that we go over the edge into unneeded trauma. The other problem of cell phones and internet access is that they can trigger severe how to deal with homesickness at camp in a person who was just feeling normal homesickness. Staff should also be informed before campers call or text, let alone if accessing the internet and social media.

Otherwise, a lonely camper will start to play parents off of staff. Parents: train your kids to speak up about their emotions right away in the moment if appropriate. Except during weeks requiring photography and internet research, Wolf Camp encourages parents to have campers leave phones at home so that everyone can experience the full feeling of summer camp without distraction.

Related articles include Summer Camp Is Key. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Call us at or send an email anytime. We look forward to your participation in nature! Skip to content. Dealing with Normal Homesickness Part of our job is to make certain tricks of the trade part of the camp culture which prevent normal feelings of homesickness from getting out of hand.

We ensure that happens within the first hour at Wolf Camp. If provided healthy structure, people can form new relationships that provide healthy attachments right away.

Having myriad opportunity for expression — songs, skits, and other rituals — demonstrates to children how appropriate expression is the anecdote for oppression, depression, and other problems caused by withholding thoughts and feelings. Putting away the phones and instead, practicing communication. Icebreakers should include at least one exercise that teaches participants how to resolve a small annoyance before it leads how to change partitions in windows xp a bigger problem.

For instance, teasing someone for being from Canada, eh, is funny the first time, but still at least little annoying to Canadians even the first time an American does it. An exercise to show people how to stop undue teasing, at least by the second time it occurs, before conflict erupts. Getting people to sleep before it gets dark. This is critical to prevent homesickness, because darkness is the 1 trigger.

Getting to sleep at the right time also serves as a risk management protocol: people get injured and lost when tired and after it gets dark in new environments; not to mention the fact that naughty teens can utilize the cover of darkness to avoid sleep and rules, causing problems the next day.

The author telling a story-song on the first day of camp, with his niece Jacquelyn Kellin comforting kids in the background. In my opinion, the most important of those ACA tips include: Choose a camp the child really what kind of oil for harley davidson to go to.

Pack a beloved stuffed animal or other personal item from home to hold when sleeping. Attentively listen to their entire story, affirming their experience. If you need a bribe, your child is how to deal with homesickness at camp ready for the experience.

Focus on the positive things that did happen, and encourage your child to try camp again next year. Pushing Through The Pain If you decide to go ahead and speed up the process by putting a young person through a traumatic 10 days away from home, then yes, they will know how to push through the next homesickness experience as well. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

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Giving Your Child the Tools to Deal with Homesickness at Camp Before your child leaves for camp, talk with them about strategies for coping with separation anxiety. Make sure they feel comfortable talking with a camp counselor or other trusted adult while at camp. A thorough orientation, which allows the new camper to become familiar and comfortable with the campsite, helps prevent homesickness. Upon arrival, the counsellors tour the property with their group. If the counsellor does not sleep in the campers’ cabin, they will show the campers where the staff cabin is located nearby. Another key for a successful (and homesick-free) first overnight camp experience is helping a child make connections between camp and previous “overnight” experiences.

This summer, millions of children will get their first taste of independence at a summer resident camp. For many, it will also be their first experience with homesickness. But parents don't have to feel helpless when homesickness strikes. The prescription for camper homesickness is a simple solution of preparation and patience.

Phillips Exeter Academy psychologist Dr. Christopher Thurber studied homesickness in boys between the ages of 8 and 16 at resident camp. According to his results, homesickness is the norm rather than the exception. A whopping 83 percent of the campers studied reported homesickness on at least one day of camp. Thurber and the American Camp Association ACA suggest the following tips for parents to help their child deal with homesickness at summer camp:.

Skip to main content. Learn More. ACA Communications Toolkit. The toolkit is a resource for both proactive public relations and crisis communications. Upcoming Events. Browse a listing of ACA national and local upcoming events. View Calendar. Become a Visitor. Camping Magazine. Your primary educational resource for the camp industry.

Find a Job. Let ACA help you find seasonal, summer and year-round jobs. Start Looking. Volunteer with ACA. Interested in becoming a volunteer with ACA? Start a Camp. We're happy you care about the successful development of children. Let us help! Get Started. Find a Camp. Camp is fun and so much more! Let ACA help you find the right camp for your child. Start Search. Coping with Homesickness. Thurber and the American Camp Association ACA suggest the following tips for parents to help their child deal with homesickness at summer camp: Encourage your child's independence throughout the year.

Practice separations, such as sleepovers at a friend's house, can simulate the camp environment. Involve your child in the process of choosing a camp. The more that the child owns the decision, the more comfortable the child will feel being at camp. Discuss what camp will be like before your child leaves. Consider role-playing anticipated situations, such as using a flashlight to find the bathroom. Reach an agreement ahead of time on calling each other. If your child's camp has a no-phone-calls policy, honor it.

Send a note or care package ahead of time to arrive the first day of camp. Acknowledge, in a positive way, that you will miss your child. For example, you can say "I am going to miss you, but I know that you will have a good time at camp. Linking a successful stay at camp to a material object sends the wrong message. The reward should be your child's new found confidence and independence. Pack a personal item from home, such as a stuffed animal.

When a "rescue call" comes from the child, offer calm reassurance and put the time frame into perspective. Avoid the temptation to take the child home early. Don't feel guilty about encouraging your child to stay at camp.

For many children, camp is a first step toward independence and plays an important role in their growth and development. Trust your instincts. While most incidents of homesickness will pass in a day or two, Thurber's research shows that approximately seven percent of the cases are severe.

If your child is not eating or sleeping because of anxiety or depression, it is time to go home. However, don't make your child feel like a failure if their stay at camp is cut short. Focus on the positive and encourage your child to try camp again next year.

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