Helping prepare for (and overcome!) homesicknessApril 16, 2019
With Camp only a few months away it is time to resume our annual blog series called “Camp 101”. It’s designed to help new and veteran camp parents become more familiar with the traditions, norms and practices of our sleep away camp in New Hampshire. First up is a conversation about homesickness, including what causes it, how often we encounter it at Camp, and some of the best methods we have seen for combating it. Future Camp 101’s will be about our health care resources and policies, how we keep our campers with food allergies safe, and why we choose to be an unplugged summer camp. We hope you find them interesting and informative!
What is homesickness? Technically speaking, it is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home. It’s characterized by acute longing and preoccupying thoughts of home and other beloved objects. About 95% of all children miss something about home when they’re away at Camp. In other words, homesick feelings are absolutely normal. Contrary to “conventional wisdom”, research has shown that a Camp’s physical distance from a child’s home, or the presence of a child’s friend from home at Camp, have no impact at all on whether a child experiences homesickness while at Camp.
Fortunately, severe homesickness is very rare.
Research has shown that only 1 in 5 children have a bothersome amount of homesickness, and only about 1 in 14 encounters a truly distressing degree of homesickness at any point in their camper career. At Kenwood and Evergreen, we’re pleased that our numbers are significantly better, and most often relatively short-lived. While practical experience has helped us to develop a number of truly effective ways to deal with homesickness at Camp, there are some simple things that you can do before Camp starts to reduce the chance that your child will experience a bothersome or distressing amount of homesickness. In addition, there are lots of things that you can do to support your child if he or she should experience serious homesickness while at Camp.
Click here to read about the techniques we recommend for combating homesickness, and for some tips we’ve developed to help new parents with their own Camp anxiety.