As summer begins, hundreds of New York children will head to summer camp – eager, excited, and… homesick? It is common for campers to feel a tinge of homesickness at some point during the camp session. So how can parents help their child overcome homesickness?The American Camp Association, NY and NJ recommends the following tips parents can use to help their child deal with homesickness at camp:
- Send a letter in the first few days 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."
- Don't bribe. 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.
- Avoid the temptation to take the child home early. If a "rescue call" comes from the child, offer calm reassurance and put the time frame into perspective.
- Talk candidly with the camp director to obtain his or her perspective on your child's adjustment.
- 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.