Homesickness is a natural and normal process for kids of all ages, at both overnight camp and day camp. For first-time campers, here are some suggestions that can help to prevent or reduce homesickness.
- Involve your child in the decision to attend camp! Look at the website and brochure together, pointing out pictures and activities that they might do. Choose a camp session that matches your child’s interest and abilities. Camp Fire has a YouTube channel with a tour of Camp Sealth, videos of Day Camp, and other fun content!
- For overnight camp, selecting a short session (3 nights) is ideal for first-time campers.
- If possible, prepare for overnight camp and attend a Family Camp together or our Camp Sealth Open House before camp starts.
- Short stays away from parents can help – kids who have attended day camps or have had sleepovers at a friend’s house tend to be more successful at overnight camp.
- While preparing for camp, please do not promise phone calls home or make any deals about picking kids up. Kids will fixate on this and have trouble focusing on having fun.
While Campers are at Camp
- Sending mail or e-mail to your overnight camper at Camp Sealth can help. Be sure to use positive and encouraging messages, and send physical mail a couple of days ahead of camp (or bring it to check-in!) so it will be there when they arrive.
If a child is homesick at camp, counselors will handle it with compassion. Our first priority is to get kids engaged in activities they enjoy and making friends with their group. Homesickness is common at first, but usually goes away after a day or so.
For severe homesickness at overnight camp, we will call the parents for consultation. Phone calls between campers and parents can be arranged, but are not recommended, as they usually increase homesickness. If homesickness does not improve, or if the child is having trouble sleeping or eating, we may ask parents to pick up their child.
When a camper experiences homesickness at Day Camp, staff will be in touch with parents throughout the day or at pick-up to help make a plan for success and support the next day.