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Homesickness is not uncommon, even after the first summer at sleepaway camp. It is totally normal for children to be a little homesick especially at the beginning of overnight camp as they adjust to being away from home and their families, making new friends and settling into the camp routine. Homesickness may hit more often at night and during downtime.
What if your child is homesick? Be positive and supportive and let your camper know that their feelings are normal. Tell your son or daughter that it will get easier and you are confident that they will be happy at camp. Suggest that your child talk to a counselor or a big camp brother or sister if they are ever feeling really sad. As a parent, know that the staff is trained to deal with homesickness and let the camp work through it with your camper. If your child’s homesickness seems to be more serious, speak to your camper’s group leader or the director about it. However, never make deals with your child or promise that you will bring them home early if they aren’t happy.
Write often, but do not tell your child how much you miss them/how sad you are without them or about exciting things that are going on at home that they are missing out on. Keep in mind that phone calls to your camper are not always helpful. Even happy campers may get teary and a little homesick when they hear their parents’ voices.
The good news is that most campers will work through any major homesickness and it will generally lessen as your child becomes more involved in camp life. Your boys and girls will be busy with activities and making friends and generally tired by lights out. For the majority of children, it will get much easier as camp goes on. They will come home at the end of the summer and many of them will be then be campsick!