Parent preparation is the key to helping your child with being homesick. It's a normal and natural reaction for campers to miss their parents, pets and yes, even their siblings.
However, talking about the possibility of being homesick can help your child understand how to handle it at Camp.
Talk About It
Be open with your child about the possibility of being homesick. Start the conversation a few months before opening day. Explain how it might make them feel - upset tummy, a headache or lonely.
Role-play scenarios with your child. We call this the "What Would You Do If" game. What would your child do if they were feeling lonely? We always recommend talking with their counselors. Camp counselors are well-versed in helping campers cope with being homesick. Whether it's extra attention, conversation or distracting campers with all the fun activities at Camp, we are well equipped to handle it.
Part of being homesick can be a reliance on adults and caregivers. Think about the ways you can help your child be more self-sufficient. Teaching them problem-solving skills, for example, encourages independence and can help make your child less anxious.
Camp uses a feature called Bunk1 that allows families to send emails to their campers. The emails are printed off and distributed, but nothing beats a hand-written card or letter. You can mail letters ahead of time or pack a few cards in their belongings for them to open at Camp. Remember, Camp does not accept care packages.
Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer have dedicated Camp Directors of Camper Life. Their responsibilities are to ensure campers have good and successful Camp sessions and to work directly with families around concerns like being homesick.
After more than 75 years of experience with campers and homesickness, we are really good at helping campers adjust to summers at Sea Gull and Seafarer.