- involve your child in choosing a camp.
- understand the camp’s philosophy on how issues like homesickness are addressed. Talk candidly with the camp director to understand his perspective on your child’s adjustment.
- discuss what camp will be like before your child leaves.
- send a note or care package ahead of time to arrive the first day of camp.
- trust your instincts. While most incidents of homesickness will pass in a day or two, approximately 7 percent of the cases are severe. If your child isn’t eating or sleeping because of anxiety or depression, work with the camp director and other camp staff to evaluate the situation.
- bribe. Linking a successful stay at camp to a material object sends the wrong message. The reward should be your child’s newfound confidence and independence.
- plan an exit strategy. If a “rescue call” comes from your child, offer calm reassurance and put the time frame into perspective.
- 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.
- make your child feel like a failure if his stay at camp is cut short. Focus on the positive and encourage your child to try again next year.
Find more tips at the American Camp Association website.
Reprinted with permission from the American Camp Association. ©2010 American Camping Association, Inc.