I'm here to talk about how to help a homesick camper. I think we always think that camp is supposed to be fun and terrific and you send your kids off as if they're going to have the time of their life but we all know that some kids don't adjust as easily as others. There are those kids that jump feet first or head first into the water then there are those other kids that really do tiptoe in and then once they get in the water is fine. I think the trick about a homesick camper is to figure out if your child is going to dive in, tiptoe in and gradually adjust or if they're just never going to get there. You have to do something else. The one key you want to think about in terms of homesick campers is first you. You don't want to be a child sick parent.
So, is some of the homesickness about your difficulty letting go of your child and putting them in the care of someone else to have a good time for the summer? You want to think about that first whenever something comes up about your child having a hard time. With kids that are at camp, especially for the first time but sometimes it's a second or third time and it's a new camp. You want to first listen to what they're saying and not jump to any conclusions, especially if it’s in the first couple of days that they're there because it may just be the new situation jitters that they have to adjust to. Listen to it, think about it. Maybe consult with the camp about it because you want to know is this a child that is just having an adjustment problem or is this a very bad fit for your child and the camp or is there something worrisome going on? Is there a bully situation or is there a bad camp style for your child.
After you've listened and if it still goes on, I think you want to do a little more investigating. One thing is use your eyes and your ears. Your eyes, what happens is sometimes camps now have the pictures that they post of kids online during the day. Your child may be saying it's awful, I'm sitting around and nobody is playing with me and then you see pictures of them at the soccer game or at a campfire. You want to match what it is that they're saying to you and what it is that they are actually displaying. That's one great way to do a reality check with everyone. You do want to check with the camp itself. They're trained in how to help kids. It's in their best interest to have kids happy and to have parents happy. They do what they can to make sure it's a good fit and good situation.
You want to talk to them about what is really going on and talk about what kind of strategies they have for helping your child feel better or feel more accepted and involved. Maybe it’s a change in the schedule that they have. Maybe it is a change in the cabin and maybe it's just give it a couple of more days, we've seen this before. Then, at the end of the day, if you really do feel that it's a bad situation for whatever reason, then you do have to think seriously about there's no value in helping a homesick camper that is really a child that is very stressed and it's a bad situation for your child as a camper.
Then, see what you can do about possibility bring that child home not as a failure to your child but just as, it's a great think that we try this, we learned a lot, what could we do differently for another situation at another camp? First and foremost notice that homesick campers means yes, they're not at home and things aren't going to be the same. Is the sickness really I'm just missing some of my regular things and I'm really happy with some of these new things.