Prior to the start of last summer, one of our Directors, Shari, wrote a great blog post about how to work through homesickness. You can read all about it here: https://www.campkodiak.com/helping-with-homesickness/. I thought as we get ready for camp this year it would be a great idea to revisit some of these ideas so that your camper will feel ready to have a great time at camp. Here are some things that you can do to get your camper ready for camp, and set them up to be able to deal with any homesickness while away for the summer.
Practice having a night, or nights, away from home.
As with most things, sleeping away from home gets easier with practice. Maybe start with a weekend at Grandma/Grandpa’s, and then maybe see if you can arrange a sleepover with friends or other relatives.
Simulate our electronics use before camp.
At Kodiak our campers do not have cell phones, or access to the internet. They can have a music player (iPod/MP3 Player) or small game (DS, 3DS) but only for 20 minutes after lunch, and 20 minutes before dinner. Practicing spending time away from a cell phone or other technology is a great step in getting ready for camp!
Shop and pack for camp together.
Getting to buy camp supplies can be an exciting part of the process! We encourage families not to send the most expensive clothes or items to camp, but having your camper help by picking out a new beach towel or getting a new pair of sandals can help get them excited for their summer to get started.
Make a plan for letters written to your camper.
Getting mail is an exciting part of camp, and that excitement can start right now. Have your camper create a list of things that they want in their letters. This could be the latest sports scores, jokes, mad-libs, funny stories about pets – things they will enjoy reading during their time at camp.
Don’t make a pick up deal.
If your camper says “will you pick me up if I am homesick?” please resist the urge to say yes. Instead, tell them how confident you are that they will have success. Encourage them to talk to a counsellor if they are missing home because they will have lots of ways to help them through any tough times. Telling a camper that they can come home early if they are feeling homesick is a sure-fire way to guarantee that camper will leave camp early.
Reassure your camper that missing home is perfectly normal, but that camp is still going to be AMAZING!
Even our most experienced campers and counsellors feel a bit nervous before camp. They still have a great time and return year after year. At Kodiak we have so many things that we do to help campers feel at home (check out Shari’s article to see more details on exactly how we do that).
We are excited to see everyone at camp soon!