Manual Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow

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When we picked up our son from ski school, we were surprised he was not with his friend.

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In fact he made 3 new friends, wanted to have a playdate with one and really got to know these kids one went to sleepaway camp in Maine, they all loved video games and they looked forward to being in ski school together the next day. My 5 year old daughter on the other hand gave me a run for my money. I was at the top of the mountain on our third run of the day.

My heart sank. It was ski school. My daughter was only there for 90 minutes when she came inside crying, refusing to go back out. And then my camp parent skills kicked in.


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I am not coming to get her. She only thinks she is stopping because she thinks I am getting her.

I reminded her of all the fun times she had in ski school before. I cannot get you. Please try and have fun and I will see you later. For the next 4 hours, I checked my phone, but no calls. I figured she had to have gotten back on the mountain, right? Every day from there got a little bit easier. I got zero calls and my daughter and I picked a new song that we would both sing on the mountain if we missed each other. It was our way of sending a camp letter and it worked. Because for 7 weeks or for just a few hours, every parent needs a guilt-free vacation. And every kid deserves to feel independent, proud and a sense of accomplishment.

Homesickness can be rough.

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But getting over homesickness will last a lifetime! Do you have any examples when you used your super camp-parent skills to deal with situations at home? Please share with us!

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We hope you are enjoying your summer at home and have found some time to write your camper. Campers LOVE getting mail!!!! Throughout the summer, we promise they will write you back. Did you go to summer camp?


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  • A counselor or camper would then distribute the mail around the bunk as you eagerly awaited a letter from home. You loved getting letters from home! Now do you remember letter-writing days? These were the times when you HAD to take a break from all the action and fun, and scribble down anything you could to fill a page and meet your requirement of sending a letter home.

    Do you remember writing a letter at night when you missed home? Or at rest hour when you were a little frustrated by a bunkmate, and the only person you wanted to tell was your mom? Gotta go. It kind of makes you laugh right? You give the gift of sending your child to camp and in return, they check a few boxes on a small piece of stationery, squeeze out some sentences and hopefully remember to put a stamp on the envelope!

    By the time that letter gets to you often days or a week later , the moment has passed, the child has moved on but you are stuck with this letter! Oh the joys of being a child and a parent. Now with that in mind, please re-read our thoughts on letter writing in the Parent Guide. You can call us after you read the third letter!!

    We do for many reasons. Where else in modern times do people write REAL, handwritten letters every week and wait eagerly by the mailbox to receive them? It is an old art form of communication that is so important. It also is a valuable time for parents, grandparents, friends and children to think about each other without actually asking the other to do anything for them.

    I Hate It Here. It is for all of these reasons that we do suggest that you take the letters with a grain of salt. One more reason we love letters is because they are a great tool in helping cure homesickness. Yes- that letter you may receive that sounds a little weepy can actually help your child cope. Even more important is the letter that the child writes to the parent, because the simple act of expressing the homesickness and mailing it off to the parent means that the child has made a mental connection.

    It is sometimes easier to remember an annoying little incident in a letter, than all the great things that are going on at camp.


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    Not only is it super-easy, eco-friendly and exclusive to our camp…it helps remind your child about all the great things that they are experiencing and want to share with their families! Did you download it from CampMinder and print copies for your child to put in their stationery box? You can still send them some copies.

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    Oh letters. Write them. Read them. They will make you laugh one day! And you can give them to your child when they are grown up and sending their kids off to camp!

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    Do you have a hilarious camp letter present or past that you want to share for our collection? Have you gone on the lake yet? Your cabin group looks like a fun crew! Validate their feelings. Your child might be genuinely feeling severe discomfort from being away from home. Encourage them. Reassure them that you have confidence in their ability to face this challenge and have a great camp experience.

    Let them know how proud you are of their independence and how excited you are to hear of their accomplishments when they finish camp. Redirect the conversation to something positive. It looked like so much fun!

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    Lucky duck! Asking questions about an activity they were particularly excited about or about their cabinmates and counselors can also be fun. Sometimes homesickness is part of the growth process, but we can instill confidence in our campers by encouraging them through uncomfortable and challenging situations rather than completely removing them from all sources of discomfort. You and your camper are not alone! GAC is here to partner with you to help both you and your camper have the most positive and growth-filled camp experience possible. During our staff training, our counselors learn positive ways for handling camper homesickness.

    Our counselors and staff will do the following things to help your child work through the normal adjustment period of being away from home:. Our Camp Directors, Assistant Directors, and Camp Moms are in camp with your children throughout the camp day and will call you back within 24 hours. If your child is visibly upset crying frequently, not participating, having trouble eating or sleeping and not getting adjusted to camp after two full camp days, we will call you to let you know what is happening and discuss a plan for helping your child adjust.

    Homesick And Happy: How Time Away From Parents Can Help A Child Grow

    Without the option of going home, most campers adjust to camp within a few days. In these chapters lie tips for both parents and camp directors that we can use to better help children through this sometimes rocky, but always important journey. By: Kathy Neilsen Have you ever noticed that words can lose their meaning, or at least their power because of overuse? That happened to us Most baby What is less clear is the effect that this Sometimes the only remedy is to fully immerse yourself into a camp memory.

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