We have found that often it is the parents who have the hardest time. Your son will take his cues from you – your confidence about his ability to make new friends and learn from new experiences should be enough to help him manage any anxiety he may have. A few actions you can take to help prepare him for a great camp experience include:
- Explain to him ahead of time that some homesickness is perfectly normal, especially if it’s his first time away from home. This is especially true during the first couple of nights. We normally don’t allow phone calls home, since in our experience these calls can trigger home sickness even in a boy who is having a great time.
- Encourage him to see camp as a chance to build his self-confidence and healthy sense of independence.
- Help him focus on the great opportunities for fun and learning that the camp offers, and the chance to make many new friends. Most boys are so engaged in the activities they don’t have time to feel homesick.
- Guide him away from the idea that leaving early is an option if he does not like camp after a day or two.
- If possible, have him meet some of the other boys going on the camp ahead of time, or one of the counselors.
We also recommend you speak with one of our returning parents, who can offer encouragement and their own positive experience.