First time at camp? First time away from parents? First time your children are away from you? It’s a great time to get some perspective on homesickness, and where you fit in.
Let’s look at the first two questions. They’re for your son. The third… for you. But there’s a connection that you need to make. It’s a time of transition for your son – and a time of transition for you. It’s prudent for you to do some research on what causes homesickness… because it’s completely natural for us to feel this.
Get comfortable with the subject and realize that we often project our emotions on others. If you need some time to get cozy with your feelings – then do so. And then find a time to address this. Has your son done a sleepaway with friends or with family? Maybe stayed with grandparents or cousins? Those are excellent first steps. But remember – if your son says he wants to go to camp, that he’s excited, and that he’s ready – then try to support those feelings and encourage his independence. Still concerned? Talk to us and we’ll see if this is actually the best time for him to start his camp journey (sometimes campers are more ready than their parents).
But pay attention to the transitions! It’s important to set up expectations and to address them. Homesickness often manifests itself when there’s a “sudden” transition or separation from home. Work on eliminating the “sudden” part and find a way to transition the fear of the unknown into the excitement for new adventures.
And homesickness at camp hits at different times of the day. For some, it’s morning – others meal times, others before bed or quiet time. Those are all transition times. At camp, we acknowledge that transitions are difficult for some campers – and we ensure that counsellors stay aware and see how your son is dealing with his feelings. And we don’t ignore them! Many of our counsellors are former Nominingue campers… they know what it’s like to be at camp, and they have been trained on how to help campers manage these feelings and focus on the positives… adventure, friendship, learning, exploring… and more!