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girls in dormitory playing cards sleep away camp uk for activities

Is it okay to be homesick?

Whether it’s your child’s first time coming to camp or their tenth, there is a chance they might get homesick and that’s okay, it’s completely natural. It is essential that as parents & carers, you have a conversation with your children before they arrive at summer camp and give them some tips on how to deal with it.

Families often ask us how we deal with children if they are homesick at camp, there is no ‘one size fits all policy’ so here are a few ideas to work through pre camp...

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1. Talk about feeling homesick and how it is okay – you can still have plenty of fun whilst being homesick. Explain to them that it is a feeling that won’t last forever and how proud of them you will be after their stay at camp.

2. Have sleepovers and time away from home before summer camp begins. If your children have not been away from you for the night before, have several trial runs before you book your child onto a camp. Talk to them after – how did they feel? Did they feel homesick? How did they manage that feeling? If your child is struggling being with close friends or family, then it is probably worth reevaluating whether they are ready for summer camp.

3. Discuss with your children who they can talk to if they are feeling homesick. It’s best not to let that feeling build up during the day and wait just until lights out at the end of the day. The sooner our wonderful team of Dorm & Activity Leaders know, the quicker they can ensure you have someone to talk to about your feelings or if keeping you busy and engaged is a better method, they can make sure you are fully integrated into activities.

For some children talking to their family back home is all they need with a bit of positive encouragement however for other children it can make the situation ten times worse. Although by the end of their stay, we will know your children well, nobody knows them better than you do. If your child is feeling homesick, please trust us to use our knowledge and many years of expertise to do what is best for them.

4. Be strong as a parent – hearing that your child is upset down the end of a phone can be heart breaking. We need you to trust us, our instinct and our expertise. On a Sunday evening, it isn’t uncommon for us to a couple of homesick children at our camps and normally after a fun full day of activities on a Monday, home is a distant memory (sorry parents). The worst thing a parent can say to a child is “I’ll come and pick you up on Wednesday if you are still upset then.” Take each day as it comes...

And if you are a bit anxious about your children going to camp, don’t let them see that. We don’t want to plant any doubt into their minds. Tell them how excited your are for them, wished you had the opportunity etc.

Summer camps are fantastic places where children are kept busy! During their stay, they will have so much more than just a wonderful time taking part in activities. They will overcome hurdles and leave more independent than when they arrived.

If you are still not sure if your child is ready for camp or concerned about them being homesick, please contact us!