• Talk to them about it; describe activities they will be doing,
describe your own experiences or other's experience about camp.
• Involve kids in choosing the camp. First, parents must decide
what type (day camp vs. overnight, co-ed or same gender,
traditional recreational camp or specialty camp) then discuss their
top choices with their child to get their opinion.
• Attend open houses, meet the staff, visit the campsite, check
out the Web site.
• Talk to other families who are sending their kids to the same
camp. Arrange a play date with the kids to foster a positive
• Involve the children in the decision on camping. If kids feel
like partners in this decision, they also perceive more control of
the process. If they feel forced to go to camp, they might feel
helpless, which increases homesickness.
• Normalize your child's feelings, including fear, nervousness,
homesickness. These are normal feelings when going away from loved
• Parents should practice brief separation periods prior to
camp. Arrange a weekend overnight without contact with parents (no
• Provide addressed, stamped envelopes so kids can mail
• Express optimism and confidence in their child's ability to
manage separation and to have fun at camp. Avoid expressing anxiety
about the separation.
• Avoid promising kids to pick them up if camp doesn't work
Coping concepts for kids
• Tell kids to do something fun with friends when feeling
• Do something to feel closer to home like look at a family
picture, write a letter or journal entry.
• Talk to someone at camp who can listen and help.
• Think of the fun activities at camp. Distract yourself from
thoughts of missing home.
• Use a calendar to mark off the days to visualize the duration
and realize the separation is not forever.
Source: Francesca Skowronski, visiting assistant professor,
Institute for Juvenile Research Department of Psychiatry, The
University of Illinois at Chicago
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