Camp Prep #6: Homesickness
In this Camp Prep we cover the topic that makes even the most seasoned parents nervous: homesickness. The most important thing to remember about homesickness is that it’s normal and usually passes very quickly – though usually more quickly for campers than parents! Even for big kids and returning campers, it is an adjustment to leave home and live in a new environment with new people. Our first days of camp are designed to get kids up to speed on routines, develop positive bunk dynamics, and stay busy.
During our staff week, the counselors practice lots of strategies to help kids with homesickness and our Camp Moms are available for extra support. The best way to tackle homesickness is to address it with your camper before he or she leaves for camp. Some effective pre-camp strategies:
- Have your child sleepover with a friend or family member before camp.
- Talk to your children about what their new home will be like, including their "bedroom" and "dining room." If there are questions we can answer to facilitate this conversation, please ask!
- Send a letter ahead of time so there's something from you waiting for your camper on the first day of camp.
- Instead of telling your camper "We will miss you," try "I know you'll have a great time at Camp" or "We are so proud of you for going to camp on your own.” If you were a camper yourself, share some stories about your own experience.
- Pack a few personal items from home, like a favorite stuffed animal or family picture.
- Don’t bribe your child to enjoy camp; the real reward will be your child’s newfound confidence, independence, and friendships.
- Discuss with your children the need to trust and confide in their counselors and camp staff to help them with any needs. It is important for them to know that the staff has their best interests at heart and that you, as parents, trust them, too.
If you do get a homesick letter, don’t panic! The mail is slow in Wimberley, so that letter is probably 4 days old. By the time you are reading it, your child is probably well-adjusted and has joined the rest of the happy campers.
You are welcome to check in with us whenever you like—our Camper Care Team is there to support parents as well as campers. They will be available by email (email@example.com) or phone (713-723-8354) during the summer to address any questions or concerns you may have. More about our Camper Care team in the next Camp Prep email…
Now, as far as YOUR campersickness goes… we suggest meeting a friend for coffee, seeing some movies, getting away for a weekend, writing lots of letters to your camper, and enjoying less laundry and grocery shopping. Before you know it, you’ll be greeting your returning camper with a big smile and a warm hug, and they’ll be telling you all about their successes this summer at CYJ!
If you have any questions at all as you get ready for camp, let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-723-8354. You can also search our Knowledge Base to learn more about not only homesickness, but anything you may be wondering about to get ready for camp.
Next up in the Camp Prep Series: Camper Care & Medical Teams
Camp Prep Series:
#2: Food at Camp
#4: Meet the Merakzim
#5: Camper Communication
#7: Camper Care & Medical Teams