It is not uncommon for children to express feelings of homesickness when they hear Mom and Dad’s voice…especially during the first phone call. In most cases, the child has adjusted very well but may sound homesick on the phone. We always have “Camp Moms” and Head Counselors on the spot to comfort any homesick campers and ensure they get right back into activities.
Many children save their “worst” for their parents. Sharing distress with Mom and Dad is a quick way to re-establish closeness in just a few short moments. This is not to say that children deliberately “invent” situations. It is more likely that they tell their story in such a way as to elicit your empathy and therefore create an instantaneous feeling of intimacy.
Below are some helpful tips if confronted with this scenario:
- Stay positive! This isn’t the time to tell him how upset you are without him and what he’s missing out on at home.
- Tell your son that you love him AND that you are confident in his ability to cope.
- Encourage your son to share with his counselor, Group Leader, Head Counselor and/or Director what he seems to be saving for you. We can help your son much better if he speaks directly with us.
- Talk about the activities, friends and fun at camp. Staying busy is the best way to take your mind off of missing home.
- Think of suggestions that might be helpful to our staff in working with your child. Even though he may behave differently at camp from anywhere else, you know him best.
- Avoid making a pick up deal with your son to bring him home if he doesn’t like the experience of being away. This undermines your son’s sense that you have confidence in his abilities to be on his own, while setting an expectation that he won’t like the experience.
- Remind yourself that camp is a process and that we need time to work with each camper. Don’t expect results overnight.
- Don’t hesitate to call us at camp with any questions or concerns about your son’s adjustment to camp.