Overnight camp is a chance for your child to have a fun and unforgettable learning experience. You want them to write about how amazing camp has been so far, but sometimes you get a homesick letter instead. It can be difficult to console to your child in writing, but here are some tips you can use to combat this weighty feeling.
First things foremost, acknowledge their feelings. Let them know you are glad they are expressing their feelings to you. Vocalizing and accepting your emotions allows you to take the proper steps to move forward from it. It’s also very beneficial that you encourage your child to speak to their cabin counselor. Counselors are a resource your child can depend on. They will listen and support your camper not only because they want your child to have the best camp experience possible, but also because they genuinely care about your child’s well being. Your child can also talk to a sibling or close friend at camp. It can be soothing to communicate with someone who has experienced something similar.
Another step you can take to respond to a homesick letter is to remind your child about all that they have already accomplished. Your child committed to an extended amount of time away from their comfort zone to try something new and that is a big deal! It can also be reassuring to a child who is eager to come home to know that you will be able to see each other again soon once camp has ended. Until then, you will be with them the whole time via letters. Camp purposefully maintains busy schedules for campers because busy schedules have been proven to keep their minds from lingering too long on their homesickness; therefore, continue to express interest in all the activities your camper had that day. Then, your child can share in their next letter all the things they have learned!
Lastly, suggest to your child to try the Happy 3 Rule. The Happy 3 Rule is essentially a way for your child to recognize for himself/herself three happy, nice, or positive things that happened to them that day. It can be as simple as, “I had ice cream for dessert,” or “Cory smiled at me today.” This tip will help your child find the pros at camp and shape a positive attitude towards the rest of their time away from home. Your camper can also write to you about the nice things they noticed in a day!
Overcoming homesickness is a work in progress. After taking these tips into consideration, a difficult homesick situation can be spun into a positive learning experience. Your child will later remember camp as a unique and invaluable part of summer where they conquered their homesickness and became more independent and confident in their ability to face future obstacles that comes their way.